After a long 2020 campaign in suburban Milwaukee this weekend finally saw Forward Madison FC officially return to their home field at Breese Stevens Field. The Flamingos would face former USL Championship side North Carolina FC in the first ever meeting between the two and the former RailHawks second match in USL1.
The match was one that statistically speaking was dominated by Madison. The ‘Mingos had 18 shots to North Carolina’s 6. However both teams struggled to get their shots on target as Madison had just 3 while NCFC had a single one. The toughest part is 3 of the 4 total shots on target came inside the first 45 minutes.
The Flamingos did have things a little harder as NCFC blocked a total of five of their shots on the night. And for the longest time it looked as if Forward Madison would return to Breese Steven Field with just a draw.
However a defensive turnover for North Carolina allowed Madison to send a through ball halfway up the pitch. After an initial shot from the side of the box was saved Derek Gebhard came in and sent the loose ball barrelling into the back of the net for a 90+2’ goal to give Madison three points in their first match back in Madison since the fall of 2019.
DEREK GEBHARD AT THE DEATH!— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) May 16, 2021
WE'RE BACK TO BREESE WITH A WIN!!! https://t.co/Y0rzEnCQ8H pic.twitter.com/vlqEe1L23m
“We won a second ball, and then someone played a great ball into Jake (Keegan), said Derek Gebhard. “I knew Jake was going to try and put it into a dangerous spot in the box and I was able to just anticipate it and then went and put it away.”
This also gave Madison head coach Carl Craig his first win since leading Minnesota United FC in the club’s final season in the second version of the North American Soccer League.
Carl Craig would say after the match, “I’ve seen enough football to know it doesn’t matter how much of the ball you got or how much you’re at the other end, (a game) can change at the drop of a hacksaw.”
You can view the full highlights of Madison vs North Carolina below.
Forward Madison FC has a bye week next weekend but will be back in action Wednesday, May 26th to play Midwestern foe Union Omaha at Breese Stevens Field. You can catch the match on ESPN+ and stay with E Pluribus Loonum all season long for ‘Mingo Monday each and every week.