Forward Madison FC’s late collapse forced a 1-1 draw with Fort Lauderdale CF Saturday night at Breese Stevens Field that dropped the team further out of playoff contention.
“[It was] heartbreaking to get beaten the last minute,” Flamingos head coach Carl Craig said of the failure that saw the team slip from seventh to eighth in the USL1 standings.
The scoreboard lit up first thanks to Flamingos’ defensive fielder Jiro Barriga Toyama’s surgical assist through the heart of the defense, which powered striker Noah Fuson’s towering right-footed shot from outside the box to the high center of the goal over goalkeeper Drake Callender in the 39th minute of play. Fuson’s first score this season came after over 500 minutes of total playing time, but he said the fulfillment he got from his first goal was outmatched by the draw.
“It was satisfying, but at the end of the day,” Fuson said. “I would’ve rather had someone else score and we come away [with the win].”
Fort Lauderdale’s offense didn’t surface for a majority of the contest, as Forward Madison FC’s 10 tackles, 11 interceptions and 14 clearances seemed ready to drown out any hope of a comeback. Flamingos’ goalkeeper Phil Breno showed no mercy for most of the game with three saves, but a razor-sharp kick by Fort Lauderdale striker Mitchell Curry from the center of the box to the bottom left corner of the goal shocked the home squad late in second-half stoppage time.
Craig said his team lacked the pace necessary to get the win.
“The tempo was gone,” Craig said. “When the heat was on in that second half, too often we humped it up the park rather than playing our way out of it.”
Craig said his Flamingos need to get some rest in order to improve they’re 1-1-3 record on the road.
“We’ve got to get some night-nights,” Craig said. “Even so they’re guys [Fort Lauderdale CF], they’re used to this playing...and they were dropping like flies as well.”
Next, Forward Madison FC heads to CHI Memorial Stadium for a contest against Chattanooga Red Wolves SC on July 31 at 6:00 p.m.