Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Keys to Forward Madison’s Recent Success

Well, you know what they say, “April Showers bring May Flowers,” – and struggles. It wasn’t a great start of the season for Forward Madison, but there was a process and it seemed the missing ingredient – time – couldn’t be rushed for the pieces to fit. But what were those pieces? Obviously goals help, but it isn’t that simple. When I pondered at the beginning of the season as to the root of this team’s struggles, it was more of an statistical/tactical/analytical view. This time, I take the an eye test approach. 

Consistency and Familiarity

I asked people at the beginning of the season their opinion as to why forward Madison struggled early on and the responses I received had a lot of similarities. There were a few mentions of the lack of a consistent lineup which didn’t allow the team to learn each other’s tendencies, and a combination of lack of preseason and injuries didn’t allow Forward Madison a chance to give Matt Glaeser his preferred XI. June came around and we saw Madison’s go-to lineup. Phil Breno was in goal for all but one match, and a back three comprised of Mitch Osmond, Eric Leonard, and Cyrus Rad. Mikey Maldonado, Andrew Wheeler-Omiunu were mainstays in the midfield while Mattheus Cassini, Nazeem Bartman, and Abdou Mbacke-Thiam were in the attack. The second midfielder was Drew Connor for the first half of June but his injury at Tormenta gave Alann Torres a chance at minutes, while the right midfield/wingback has either been Derek Gebhard or Alvin Jones. 

Fortress Breese Stevens Field

The Flock have done a great job in making sure that Breese Stevens Field is a place no team wants to travel to. Madison winning all three of their June home games is a great start and the way they won were all different. Against Tucson it was a steady wave of attacking throughout the match. Against Greenville it was getting the early goal and not allowing the setbacks to rattle them, more on that later, while the Henny Derby it was knowing they can get the goals, not allowing trailing going into halftime rattle them and finally breaking through at the end. Madison has seen an increase in attendance each match which only adds to the goal of making Bresse Stevens the fortress it has the potential to be.

Goals Have Appeared

A long complaint from fans (myself included) has been a lack of goals. For much of last year, it would have been no small miracle for Forward to score multiple goals in a match with the summer and early fall proving particularly frustrating. There were signs that this trend would continue in 2022 but in the month of June, Madison scored multiple goals in every match. The source of goals coming in the form of the attacking quartet of Thiam, Bartman, Streng and Cassini, with one of those four scoring every goal but three; two at Tormenta and one Charlotte. Rojay Smith scored two of those off the bench, showing Madison’s current depth in attacking options, a quality this side has been lacking in seasons past.  

Strong Mentality (Got That Dawg In ’em)

Late winners, reduced back-breaking equalizers, shithousery; all traits winning teams display. The ever-popular phrase “got that dawg in ’em,” which, for those that don’t know – or are thankfully not as online as I am – the phrase can be summarized as, they will always fight to the end, if they charge you, brace yourself, they are not someone to mess with. All the other points I made earlier are fuelled by this increased ‘dawg’ in them. These guys simply found a way every single match*.

Go down early? That’s fine, Madison will catch up.

The other team equalizes? Madison will score another.

There simply was a relentlessness from these guys; a trait which fans always appreciate. You might not win every game, but people want to see you give a shit. They want to know you are not just coasting by, they want to know that you gave it your all. I think this team is showing that, and if you need proof, just watch Cassini’s celebration in the Henny Derby and tell me these guys don’t care.

*yeah, yeah, I am aware of the Charlotte game but that was always destined to be a trap given the quick turnaround


  • Kyle Carr

    Capo, light gamer, podcaster and super amateur baker. All that plus some other stuff


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