Forward Madison picked up a crucial 1-0 win over the Richmond Kickers thanks to a 74th minute goal from defender Pato Díaz.
Forward Paulo Junior found some space on the left side and dragged Richmond keeper Akira Fitzgerald out from the goal. Junior hit the ball towards the goal, where it found the path of Díaz as he put the ball into the back of the net from close range.
It was Díaz’s first career goal for Forward Madison which gave them the win and three points that vaults the Flamingos up to third in the table.
It’s rare for a full back to end up on the goal sheet, but Díaz said that head coach Daryl Shore always hopes that they can get forward and look to score.
“That was the perfect moment [to get forward],” Díaz said. “We worked for it, we had a couple of chances and in the end we got the win.”
After a first half that featured one shot on goal for each team, Madison picked up the offense in the second half with a lot of the focus with midfielder Josiel Nuñez. The Ecuadorian stung Fitzgerald’s palms in the 53rd minute and moments later, after getting a quick interception, Nuñez found forward Don Smart to his right and Smart lashed a shot barely wide.
Forward dominated the second frame, outshooting the Kickers 10-2 in the second half. And while there were chances that could been seen as wasted by some fans, Daryl Shore knows as the end of the season gets nearer, it’s more important to seal the victory.
“We created a lot of chances, a lot of chances. Maybe on a different night those chances we created go in. Whether we score one or three or four [goals], the bigger thing is a zero for the other team,” Shore said.
A big reason for the zero goals was the solid play of goalkeeper Brian Slyvestre. Slyvestre had his second straight clean sheet and Shore was full of praise for his keeper.
“Right now Brian is in great form,” Shore said. “It’s good to know we got him back there behind the guys.”
And with a crucial game looming in four days against the Greenville Triumph, who sit just behind the Flamingos in a crowded race for the playoffs, Shore knows the team has to move on from the win to keep their position.
“It’s a quick turnaround. We just got to make sure we get our recovery and rest so we’re ready for Greenville,” Shore said.
Forward Madison hosts Greenville Wednesday August 28 at 7 p.m.