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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Forward Madison routs Spokane Velocity 3-0 in USL League One play

Spokane Velocity defender Marcelo Lage, right, fights against Forward Madison's Cherif Dieye on Sunday at ONE Spokane Stadium.  (Courtesy of Spokane Velocity)
Ethan Myers The Spokesman-Review

The rain held off on a cloudy afternoon, but the Spokane Velocity defense could not hold off the hot Forward Madison offense en route to a loss on Sunday.

After two group stage games in the Jagermeister Cup, including a 3-2 victory over the league-leading Union Omaha, the Velocity returned to regular season play this weekend, hosting the Forward in ONE Spokane Stadium. Despite creating a number of opportunities throughout the match, Spokane ultimately could not match Madison’s dynamic shotmaking in a 3-0 defeat.

“There are some days when we’re going to be a little bit off or a little bit behind the ball,” Velocity coach Leigh Veidman said. “Today was one of them. We live and we learn and we grow and get better.”

Both defenses were proficient at quelling any glimpses of attacks in the first twenty minutes, but Madison was quick to capitalize when its first real opportunity arose.

In the 22nd minute, a deep pass into the box was headed out by Spokane defender Marcelo Lage, though it fell back into possession of an accelerating Madison attack.

Two quick passes found Madison midfielder Jimmie Villalobos, who did not hesitate on ripping a left-footed shot from just outside the box to grab a 1-0 lead.

Spokane started goalkeeper Brooks Thompson, who was acquired on loan this week from USL Championship club Hartford Athletic. Sunday was his debut for the Velocity.

“I think it’s tough, tough to take, especially in the first game,” Thompson said of his debut. “…It’s a tough one but we take it on the chin, keep moving.”

The Velocity looked eager to tie it up just two minutes later on a Pierre Reedy header, but Madison goalkeeper Bernd Schipmann made one of his several impressive saves in the match.

Madison has only conceded five goals in its six regular season games. Sunday was Schipmann’s third clean sheet of the season.

Just before halftime, a Madison cross sailed past the defense but was recovered by Forward midfielder Wolfgang Prentice in the corner of the field. Prentice paused then found a slashing Devin Boyce, who took a dribble into the box before ripping a curling shot past an outstretched Thompson and silencing the Spokane fans.

Madison went into halftime with a 2-0 lead.

Spokane entered the break with 3 shots — all from inside the box — to Madison’s four.

Coming out of the half, Spokane was noticeably more aggressive in its attacking, but was still struggling to convert on its opportunities.

“The big thing was they put chances away,” Velocity midfielder Luis Gil said. “That’s what’s going to win games. I feel like it’s been a pattern that we’ve had, where we create so many chances but the final product is just kind of lacking a little bit.

“…In a game like this, in the first half, we had a couple opportunities where we could’ve been up. When you don’t end with a goal, it just puts pressure on our defense.”

In the 63rd minute, Forward quickly counter-attacked off an unsuccessful Spokane free kick. Madison forward Christian Chaney launched a deep pass from the left sideline, which found Aiden Mesias streaking down the field. Mesias dribbled to the center of the box and squeezed it by Thompson to extend the lead to 3-0.

Thompson said he thought the defense played well, but pointed to the final Madison goal as preventable.

“To be fair, they had some good finishes and you have to tip the cap,” he said. “But I think just improving our relationship (and) my communication to them will grow the more that I’m in the group and the more that I play.

“I think this is a good starting point and we can keep improving on it.”

Spokane controlled time of possession and added another eight shots — three on goal — in the second half, but none found the back of the net.

“If we weren’t creating the chances, I’d be more concerned,” Veidman said, pointing to last weekend’s 3-2 win over Union Omaha. “…Today we had big chances, but didn’t score. That’s just part of the game.”

The loss pushes Spokane to 3-3-1 in regular season play. Madison moves to 3-0-3.

“(Madison has) done a fantastic job. We’ve got things to improve on,” Veidman said. “But where we’re at right now with (59) days of training against a team like that with that identity, I’m not going to sit here and say I’m happy with the result, but if you break it down to the bones — there are things we have to get better at, but we’re in a pretty good spot.”

The Velocity will return to Jagermeister Cup play on Saturday, taking on the Greenville Triumph in a rematch of the Spokane’s debut match in March.