After jumping back into a playoff spot just three days ago, Forward Madison failed to keep up the momentum with a 1-0 loss against the Greenville Triumph.
A 44th minute wonder strike from midfielder Chris Bermudez was the difference in a match where Forward dominated the stat sheet, but couldn’t come out as the winner.
“When you’re at home, you’ve got to win games,” head coach Daryl Shore said. “It’s not good enough.”
Bermudez received a pass from the left at the top of the box, and curled his shot into the top corner of Brian Sylvestre’s goal. Despite the great finish, defender Connor Tobin felt the goal was “totally preventable.” Tobin noticed the midfield was slow to get back after the ball was cleared out for a throw-in and felt the team needed to show more desire.
“We have to compete for 90 minutes. We can’t take plays off. We gotta get better there,” Tobin said.
Bermudez’s winner came at a time in the first half when Madison were dominating the run of plan. Despite a 21st minute shot from Triumph forward Joshua Donnelly that thumped the crossbar, Madison had the majority of possession and shots up until that point.
The Flamingos almost answered Greenville’s goal just moments later. Defender Christian Díaz had his shot saved well by Greenville keeper Dallas Joyce, but the rebound fell perfectly to the feet of midfielder Josiel Nuñez. However, Nuñez’s attempt to pass it into the open net was barely cleared off the line by defender Tyler Polak, keeping Greenville’s 1-0 advantage going into halftime.
The second half saw more dominance on the ball, but no results. Forward ended the game with 61 percent of the possession, outshot Greenville 15 to 9 and had seven corners compared to two for Greenville.
Tobin felt the team’s attacking was struggling with making the right decisions. Instead of finding the simple solutions, teammates were “pressing” and Tobin wants his teammates to be show more “accountability.”
“Guys are looking at other places [of blame], they aren’t looking at themselves first,” Tobin said.
The result tonight was a tough blow for Forward as they lose momentum just as they reached their highest position in the league. The Flamingos hold a playoff spot for now thanks to tie breakers, but because they’re off this weekend, it’s possible that Madison will drop out of the playoff picture before their next game.
However, Shore does not want the mood to drop despite the inconsistent form. “We’re not gonna get down on ourselves. We know we still have [a playoff berth] in our hands,” Shore said.
With five games left in the season, Shore knows the race is tight but if they win out, they’ll be in the playoffs. Forward’s next game is against another team tied for fourth place in the South Georgia Tormenta on September 7. That’s 10 days to prepare for another crucial game and illustrate that they’re not going to give up after one loss.
“We have to keep fighting until they tell us we can’t fight anymore,” Shore said.