Madison, WI - The Greenville Triumph Soccer Club continued to show the fight fueling their September surge, as they fought back to earn a 1-1 draw in a tough road environment at Forward Madison on Saturday night. The draw kept Greenville above the playoff cut line as the club gets ready for the final month of the regular season.
A match that had big implications for playoff seeding got off to a quick start, as the Triumph levied an early attacking barrage. Madison held strong and absorbed the pressure, not allowing the Triumph to complete a final pass for an opening goal. In the 21st minute, a Madison counterattack produced the first score, as former Greenville striker Jake Keegan redirected a rebound to the feet of Derek Gebhard in front of goal. Gebhard tapped the ball in to put the home side up 1-0 and score Forward Madison's first goal as a home team in their all-time series with Greenville.
The Triumph continued to control possession of ball out of the half, but struggled to connect an attack in the final third. As he did last week against Tucson when trailing by a goal, Triumph head coach John Harkes sent on a pair of attacking subs with roughly 15 minutes left. One of those substitutions saw the return of dynamic forward Lachlan McLean, who had missed nearly three months with a knee injury. Harkes' tactics again proved fruitful, as McLean caught Madison keeper Phil Breno off his line and ripped a shot past him to bring the match even at one in the 78th minute.
The final moments of the match saw a Madison cling to the tie, as Greenville's fresh attackers pressured the Flamingos up until the final whistle.
"We're so happy to have Lachlan McLean back for us," said head coach John Harkes. "He showed us confidence, technique and a calm demeanor; that was a difficult goal to score. We're happy for him and the club, and we felt like we dominated the game despite just earning a draw. We're disappointed to not get the win and we felt like we could've gotten another in five more minutes. We'll take what we learned tonight and use it for motivation on Friday against Fort Lauderdale."
The 1-1 draw brought Greenville up to 32 points, though they fell one spot in the standings to fourth after an FC Tucson road win at Union Omaha. Greenville returns home Friday, October 1, to face Ft. Lauderdale CF at 7:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased here.