The USL League One season came to a close this week, with Union Omaha lifting the trophy in a rematch of the 2020 final against the Greenville Triumph.
Unfortunately for Forward Madison FC fans, it has been another postseason of watching from the sidelines.
The Flamingos finished the season ninth in league play, claiming only eight wins in the 28 game season. The team also found itself near the bottom of the league for goals.
The team was saved from an even worse finish with its table-topping number of draws this season, with twelve matches ending in a tie.
With goals set high for the team’s third season, it was a disappointment for all involved with the organization to see these results. Just days after the conclusion of the regular season, Forward Madison parted ways with head coach and technical director, Carl Craig.
In a statement from the club, Owner Conor Caloia said the team is looking to “hire a new coach that will regularly have this Club in the playoffs and bring a USL League One Championship to our great fans.”
With the talent of the offensive players on the squad, especially league MVP finalist Aaron Molloy, one would have hoped to see more goals this year. Further, with the strength of defending players like veteran captain Connor Tobin and defender Jiro Barriga Toyama holding down the backline, there were ample opportunities to push forward.
That said, I am writing today with three Forward Madison scarves draped on my wall, multiple kits hanging in my closet, and a whole army of plastic flamingos in my possession.
As the last match of the season came to a close, with a thrilling 2-1 victory over the Chattanooga Red Wolves, Connor Tobin walked into the “Flock End” supporters section and delivered an impassioned speech to the fans. The season for the Flamingos was already over and the win only solidified a ninth-place finish but Tobin spoke between tears about how the match and the team are only the venues.
What makes this team special is the passion of the supporters and what they do for the community.
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There is something special about the Forward Madison fans. With the second-highest average attendance in the league, the Flamingos have clearly built a community around the sport here in Madison.
The atmosphere of a Forward Madison match is second to none and it is made possible by the enthusiasm of the Flock. The “flamingo calls” during opposing setpieces, the Depeche Mode “Just Can’t Get Enough” themed chant and the unwavering “Madison” song at the end of matches are all unmistakable.
Ultimately, as much as Forward Madison FC fans would have loved to see a better result at the end of the season, this year has still featured so many memorable moments that should lead to excitement for the club going forward (pun intended).