A mystery was solved as Forward Madison FC signed the trialist formerly known as P. Flamingo.
When Forward Madison FC faced off against St. Louis FC in a training match on Saturday, March 2nd, the front three featured Paulo Jr., J.C. Banks and “P. Flamingo.”
— Forward Madison FC (@ForwardMSNFC) March 2, 2019
The club played coy about the mystery forward’s identity. It is early in preseason so the absence of a livestream was not unusual, but surely the photos and Twitter updates would give fans a clue.
That was a no ‘Go.
When news dropped on Saturday evening of MN United FC’s forthcoming signing of Ally Ng’Anzi to be loaned to Madison for the season, the timing seemed too perfect. But, alas, the Tanzanian national is a defender (though he will actually fill a midfield slot for Forward). No worries. “P. Flamingo”’s true identity makes much more sense and he too shares a MNUFC connection.
Jiro Barriga Toyama caught the attention of Minnesota fans when he featured in multiple starting lineups for MNUFC as a second-time trialist during the Orlando Invitational last month. Toyama earned himself a cult following on Twitter when he recorded a hat trick during the Loons’ 9-2 win in the opener against FC Tucson on January 29th. In that match he played on the wing (Look for No. 36 in the highlights), but Madison looks to unlock his offensive prowess up front.
“Jiro is a player who has an attacking mindset and likes to get forward,” coach Daryl Shore said. “He is very comfortable on either side of the field. His attacking abilities along with his defensive awareness make him a good match for our team.”
When the Florida Gulf Coast University alum first trialed with the Loons, it was expected that he would play a more defensive role if he made the jump to the pros.
— Jeff Rueter (@jeffrueter) January 30, 2018
But Toyama seems too attack-minded to ignore as a forward. His obvious versatility makes him a perfect addition to Forward’s forward-minded lineup.
“I’m good at 1-on-1 situations – I run a lot and love to move into the attack,” Barriga Toyama said. “I’m very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Forward Madison. I can’t wait for the season to start and to make our supporters proud.”
BGN will have more on Toyama and the other newest Flamingos, but in the meantime, here’s something to get you hyped on the latest addition:
Top photo courtesy of Ole Olson, STL Soccer