MADISON, THIS IS YOUR TEAM!
— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) April 19, 2019
Two Minnesota United players made the staring eleven, with Carter Manley playing on the right of the Flamingos’ back line. At the other end of the pitch, Mason Toye got the start in the middle of a front three.
It was a quick start for the Flamingos as the team sought their first points of the season. The team was unable to convert on a first-minute corner, and forward Don Smart saw his fifth-minute effort saved by OCB keeper Juliano Chade.
The hosts were not without attacking chances, as forward Thiago de Souza had two efforts on goal saved by Flamingo keeper Ryan Coulter. In a back-and-forth opening, Forward Madison responded with a series of chances. First, midfielder J.C. Banks’ shot from outside the box was well saved by the OCB keeper in the 12′. The Flamingos were unable to convert on the resulting corner kick. Just two minutes later, Don Smart was once again denied by Chade. This attempt was followed by a left-footed strike from Josiel Nuñez, which the midfielder put the wrong side of the post.
After this flurry of activity, OCB began to take control of the game with extended spells of possession. The Lions, however, were unable to seriously trouble Ryan Coulter or the Flamingo back line. However, a long ball over the top found 16-year-old OCB striker Luc Ganitur, who utilized his speed and agility to draw a foul inside the box on Flamingo captain Connor Tobin. Christopher Osei-Wusu sent Coulter the wrong way on the ensuing penalty to give the hosts a 1-0 lead in the 35′.
The half ended with Forward Madison on the front foot, having responded well to going a goal down. Like earlier in the half – and indeed in their first two-plus games – the Flamingos were unable to convert on the number of chances they created, thus trailing 1-0 as match official Natalie Simon blew for halftime.
As the second half got underway, it was OCB who started out the stronger team. In the 50’, defending a shot to his near post, Flamingo keeper Coulter struck the inside of his post, requiring treatment. Coulter, however, remained in the game. This short break in the action seemed to spur the Flamingos on, as Mason Toye flashed a header wide in the 55’.
Just three minutes later, after a series of neat, quick passing, Nuñez’s right-footed shot from outside the box found the back of the net for Forward Madison’s first ever goal, leveling the game at 1-1 in the 58’.
The Flamingos continued to pressure Chade in OCB’s goal, but were unable to add a second. J.C. Banks and Don Smart both came close, but were unable to put their efforts on target. Then, in the 68’, after Mason Toye won a free kick just outside the 18-yard box, he sent the resultant shot over the bar.
In the 70’ OCB’s Austin Amer was whistled for hand ball in a similar position to the previous free kick. This time, goalscorer Nuñez stepped up to take the free kick. His shot hit the post, but Shaun Russell was the quickest to react and the defender slotted the ball home to give the Flamingos a 2-1 lead.
Forward Madison’s midfield and defense did well to neutralize the OCB attack after taking the lead, limiting the hosts’ chances. Things changed for the visitors, however, in the 80’. Don Smart received a yellow card for time-wasting along the touchline after Forward Madison was awarded a throw. Immediately after the ball was put into play, Smart received a second yellow for dangerous play. As a result, the Flamingos were forced to close out the game down to 10 men.
Forward Madison sat into a defensive shell the last 10 minutes of regular time and the five minutes of time added on to hold on for their first ever points.
The Flamingos (1-2-0, three points) take on Greenville Triumph SC next Saturday, April 27 ,in their first home match at Breese Stevens Field.
Carter Manley: Manley started at right back and went the full 90’. He was up the pitch on the play that lead to the OCB penalty, but Connor Tobin had slid over to cover and was at fault for bringing down the OCB attacker in the box. Again, as Flamingo coach Daryl Shore has stated, he wants to utilize Manley as an attacking option down the flank.
Manley completed 27/38 passes and delivered two crosses into the box. On the defensive side of the ball, Manley had won 6/8 duels, had six tackles, two clearances and one interception. He conceded two fouls, but did not receive any cards.
Mason Toye: After a quiet first half performance, Toye was more active in his time on the pitch in the second half. Early in the second half, he demonstrated his willingness to get on the ball by dropping to the halfway line to receive the ball. Toye drew a foul on the edge of the 18-yard box, but he sent the resulting free kick well over the bar. He picked up a yellow card in the 72’ before being subbed off in a measure to shore up the defense and preserve the victory.
FiftyFive.One is now on Patreon. Do you like the independent coverage of soccer news from Minnesota and beyond that FiftyFive.One offers? Please consider becoming a patron.