After gaining some ground in the playoff places last weekend with a 1-0 win against the Richmond Kickers, Forward Madison welcomes the league leaders North Texas as the playoff race intensifies.
A sixth minute goal by midfielder Danny Tenorio gave Madison their first win in three games, and results in other games assured that the Flamingos now have a three-point cushion between them and the chasing playoff teams.
But now Madison faces a tough test as the dominant and league-leading North Texas SC comes to town, in what could potentially be a playoff preview.
North Texas had beaten Forward twice earlier in the season, but Madison picked up a 4-1 win at home in June which could give the fans and squad something to look at as they’ll face North Texas.
Head coach Daryl Shore was quick to praise North Texas, who has many players from the FC Dallas academy on their roster who had played together for years growing up in the MLS team’s youth squad. That group of players include top goal scorer in USL League One Ronaldo Damus and Ricardo Pepi, a 16-year old who took the USL 1 by storm before joining FC Dallas this summer.
While North Texas has clear offensive firepower, Madison goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre will hope to be up to the challenge. The 26-year old has picked up four clean sheets in his 14 starts and only allowed 14 goals all season.
“[Sylvestre] is one of the best keepers in the league, if not the best,” Shore said.
Along with the goalkeeping play, Forward has seen the return of Tenorio to the attack. Tenorio had struggled with injury at the start of the year, only appearing in eight games all season, but he’ll be hoping to stay leading the lines for Forward against a North Texas side that has won five games in a row.
Forward and head coach Daryl Shore will be hoping that the homefield advantage will help them again against the top team in the league. The Flamingos have had the best attendance in USL League One this season, and Shore said that it’s the best atmosphere in the league thanks to the fans.
“We play for the fans and give them our best every week,” Shore said.
The Flamingos will be looking to give their last regular season home match a happy ending, as they kick off Sunday at 4:00 p.m.