Christian Diaz’s first goal of the season was one he won’t soon forget.
Diaz connected in the 74th minute, sending Forward Madison FC to a 1-0 victory over the Richmond Kickers on Saturday night at Breese Stevens Field and propelling the Flamingos into a tie for third place in the USL League One standings.
With 32 points the Flamingos (9-8-5) joined South Georgia and Chattanooga in third place with six games remaining in the regular season. The top four teams make the playoffs.
Diaz found an open space in front of the goal and scored when Kickers keeper Akira Fitzgerald slid over to defend Paulo Jr. on the left side of the post. Paulo’s cross hit Diaz in stride and he finished off the play by sliding into the back of the net.
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Forward Madison was putting pressure on Fitzgerald early in the second half. In a 3-minute span, Josiel Nunez had a straight-on shot turned away, Don Smart’s right-to-left rocket went wide and Paulo’s up-close header went high and right.
Flamingos keeper Brian Sylvestre made two saves, including a stop on a free kick in the 90th minute.
The Kickers (6-10-4) entered with a four-match unbeaten streak (3-0-1), which included a 1-0 victory over the Flamingos on Aug. 10 at Breese Stevens.