Hosting a Lamar Hunt US Open Cup match for the first time, Forward Madison FC (USL League One) dominated in a 3-0 win over Cleveland SC (NPSL) in the Second Round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup at Breese Stevens Field.
Justin Sukow, Cesar Murillo Jr., and Nazeem Bartman were on the scoresheet for Madison, which outshot Cleveland 19-5.
Madison nearly opened the scoring in the 26th minute when a through-ball found Nazeem Bartman, who skated past his defender but could not skirt his shot past the Cleveland keeper Conor Cable. The subsequent corner found the head of Madison’s Carl Schneider but Cable was there to make another save to keep the game scoreless.
Madison finally broke through the Cleveland defense in the 37th minute. Indy Eleven-loanee Alann Torres drove the ball into the penalty area from near midfield, which found the foot of Justin Sukow. Sukow took two dribbles and unleashed a rocket from just inside the penalty area, which went through the hands of Cable to give Madison the 1-0 lead as the rain began pouring down.
The Madison attack didn’t relent before the break. In added-on time, Cyrus Rad’s head met the ball off a corner, which he turned toward Cesar Murillo, Jr. The first touch with his left foot squeaked past Cable to double the Forward Madison lead after 45 minutes, 2-0.
The second half began much like the first, with Forward Madison winning themselves a corner less than a minute after the restart. Cleveland was able to turn away that chance, but Madison found itselves back in control.
Cleveland SC secured its first shot on goal in the 66th minute off a short corner. The ball made its way to Chris Cvecko, whose shot was saved easily by Madison’s keeper Philip Breno.
Minutes after Cleveland’s chance, Madison struck for the third time in the game. Alann Torres broke away from the Cleveland defense around midfield and took the shot himself from the edge of the penalty area. Cable made a diving save, which fell right to Madison’s Bartman who found the back of the net to extend Madison’s lead to 3-0 in the 68th minute.
You’ll have to trust us in saying the celebration was just as good as the goal 🕺 pic.twitter.com/U0DqzkBQWF
— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) April 7, 2022
“I got an open space and I took it,” Torres said. “In my mind, I was just looking around to see what my options were. They kept on opening up until I finally said ‘I’m going to shoot it.’ Hope for the best and put it where the goalie can only block it and I know the rebound will go in. And that’s exactly what happened.”
Madison was able to hold the 3-0 lead to the final whistle, withstanding multiple Cleveland attacks in the match’s waning moments.
Forward Madison dictated the pace of play throughout the 90 minutes, forcing Cable into making eight saves while Madison counterpart, Philip Breno, was only tested on two occasions.
Forward Madison FC advance to the Third Round of the US Open Cup for the second time in club history. The Third Round draw is set for Friday April 6 at Noon ET.