Players from Forward Madison (left) and El Paso Locomotive battle for the ball in their Second Round match in the 2019 US OpenCup. Photo: El Paso Locomotive
A flock of Flamingos may not actually migrate south but the ‘Mingos of Forward Madison certainly felt at home in the heat of El Paso, flying past the Locomotive 3-0 with goals from Jiro Barriga Toyama, Christian Diaz, and Jeff Michaud in a Round 2 US Open Cup victory.
While the match was perhaps not as lopsided as the scoreline would suggest, the Flamingos put in a professional performance to see off their USL Championship hosts.
The match did not begin as it meant to go on, with Locomotive controlling much of the opening 15 minutes. A flurry of chances at the Madison end made it seem as if it would be a long night for the Flamingos but they did not take much longer to capitalize on a chance. The counter attack was swift in the 19th minute, as Paulo Junior charged down the left and delivered a pinpoint cross that was guided home by Jiro Barriga Toyama. This sent a shock through Southwest University Park, but the shock did not end there.
As the last remaining Division 3 pro team in the 2019 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, Forward Madison FC of USL League One has won $25,000 in prize money. Graphic by Dallas Kreil | IG: @dak_design
Six minutes later, Toyama turned provider and put a low cross on a plate for Christian Diaz Dominguez, doubling Madison’s lead and fully establishing that despite being from a lower division, they would not be sent home empty-handed.
Locomotive, who enjoyed 73% possession in the match, were unable to create many chances of note in what remained of the first half and coach Mark Lowry looked to make a change, bringing former USMNT player Jerome Kiesewetter in at the half for Calvin Rezende. The change still left Locomotive a little light of chances as Madison broke up play through the middle of the field. With an hour gone, Lowry rolled the last of his die, bringing on Omar Salgado and Bryam Rebellon and the impact was felt but Madison was the one to strike next.
The goal came from another counter attack, but a slick interchange between Paulo Junior and Jeff Michaud put the latter through on goal. He finished low inside the far post and with just 14 minutes left to play the result was well in hand.
According to TheCup.us records, Michaud’s goal was historic.
With that tally, Michaud becomes just the second player in the Modern Era (1995-present) to score at least one goal in four consecutive tournaments with four different clubs (Javier Castro from 2014-17). His streak began in 2016 when he scored a pair of goals for the Wilmington Hammerheads of the USL (Div. 3 pro), then he was tied for second in the entire tournament when he scored three for the South Florida Surf (USL League Two) the following year. Last year, he made it three years in a row with a goal from Miami FC (NPSL).
Michaud is the only player to achieve this feat with teams from four different leagues.
Forward Madison advance to Round 3 where it will travel to St Louis FC, which snuck past Des Moines Menace on penalties.