Despite a strong showing early in the U.S. Open Cup, Forward Madison FC was unable to pull off the upset over visiting Minnesota United FC last Wednesday.
The flamingos hosted the Major League Soccer club for the third round of the Open Cup —U.S. Soccer’s main club-level tournament. The match was the second time the clubs have met in Forward’s short history, but this was the first competitive matchup and the first time an MLS side has played a competition match in Madison.
Forward Madison came into the match following three tied matchups against League One opponents, including an away trip to Tucson April 16. The club is still finding its footing with a new technical staff led by recently hired manager Matt Glaeser.
The Loons have been flying high following a 3-1 win over the Colorado Rapids last week. The team is currently settled in the center of Major League Soccer’s western conference. The team featured a starting 11 of young players and others who haven’t played many minutes in the season. The second half saw the season debut of Minnesota’s mainstay defender Chase Gasper, who just returned to the team this week from MLS Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health program.
The first half of play was largely uneventful. The Loons dominated possession, keeping nearly two-thirds of the ball during the first half. Madison was saved by a strong showing from defender Eric Leonard and goalkeeper Phil Breno. Between Leonard and Breno, the Flamingos were able to keep Minnesota at bay through the first 45 minutes.
Tensions between the sides began to rise just before the half. Some words were exchanged between Madison’s Cesar Murillo and Minnesota captain Brent Kallman. The two both received yellow cards for the offense, but the intensity in the stadium was only beginning.
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The second half kicked off with a new energy. Minnesota designated player Adrien Hunou broke the scoring deficit, heading it into the net by the 51st minute. Forward tried to get the equalizer, but they were shut down by the Loons’ defense on every attempt.
Brent Kallman solidified the Minnesota win with a late goal in the 83 minute. A moment later, Madison’s Drew Conner received a red card. Down two goals with 10 men on the field, not even the five added minutes could revive the Flamingos.
The play intense, but the supporter sections were full of energy through the match. Despite the rain, Forward’s Flock turned out in full-force, filling the stands and along the back goal line. Minnesota’s Wonderwall chartered a coach and filled an entire section of Breese Stevens Field. Between the two sides, the sounds of drums and singing filled the air in and around the stadium. After the win, the Loons fans could be heard singing Oasis’ 1995 hit, Wonderwall.
With the win, Minnesota United will enter the fourth round of the cup, where they will host the Colorado Rapids.