A brace from Matheus Cassini and an own-goal – created by Cassini – powered Forward Madison FC to its first-ever win over Greenville Triumph and put the Mingos into playoff position for the first time since the second week of the season.
Cassini opened the scoring in the second minute, as Mikey Maldonado intercepted a Greenville pass out of the back and carried the ball toward the penalty area and cut a short pass back to Cassini, who took a left-footed shot from about 22 yards out and put it past Greenville keeper Paul Christensen on one bounce.
Cassini nearly notched three more in the first half, sending one well over, one just wide an another clanging off the crossbar.
Greenville leveled matters near the end of the first half. Cyrus Rad’s clearance was gathered at the center stripe by Greenville, and a long ball in found Jacob Labovitz, who scored on a laser from about 15 yards away.
Just as they did a week ago, the Mingos took the lead back early in the second half. Nazeem Bartman found Cassini near the byline and Cassini’s low cross toward Abdou Mbacke-Thiam was instead put in by Greenville’s Nate Schultz.
The goal the turned out to be the winner came just after the hour mark, when Derek Gebhrad started a counterattack after a Greenville corner and found a streaking Cassini, who outran everyone and chipped a cheeky ball past Christensen.
Greenville got one back in controversial fashion – after initially being ruled offside, Labovitz was awarded his second of the evening and the Triumph were right back in it.
Goalkeeper Phil Breno and the back line made a handful of impressive saves to see the match out through seven minutes of stoppage time.
After the match, head coach Matt Glaeser trotted down to the Flock End to fire up the crowd.
“We want to get the fan base re-energized,” he said. “We feel like we’ve played well, but the results haven’t gone our way. And I felt like tonight was a massive turning the corner … to show that we can beat a team of that caliber in our stadium. I hope that energizes the fans, I hope that they get excited. And I hope they continue to support us the way that they have.”
“It’s not about me, it’s about us,” Cassini said following his best game of 2022. The Brazilian, who most recently played in Bulgaria, said the recent arrival of his family has impacted his performance.
“When I look up and see my wife and daughter, it gives me more energy,” he said. He said he’s optimistic about the club’s current form – they’re unbeaten in the last three matches.
“Other teams should be worried about us,” he said. “My opinion, we have the best (team) in the league.”
Breno said the last few results – a draw at Central Valley Fuego, a home win over Tucson and tonight’s win over Greenville – have given the team a lot of confidence.
“We’ve been believing in ourselves already but I think there another level to that belief that we just reached tonight,” he said.
The Mingos next host Paderborn 1907 of the German second division in an international friendly Wednesday before a busy week in which they travel to South Georgia Tormenta Sunday, host Richmond Kickers on June 23 and travel to Charlotte Independence June 26.