Victory close out inaugural season with loss to Phoenix

Boston Victory closed out the 2012 Premier Development League in dubious fashion but managed to avoid last place in the Northeast Division despite losing 5-0 to title contenders GPS Portland Phoenix.  Midfielder Joao Santos was sent off for the second time in as many weeks.

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The Maine hosts kicked off knowing they had to settle for second place in the standings behind division winner Ottawa Fury and the Victory knew matching the result of the Vermont Voltage would keep them out of the basement.  Vermont went down 4-2 to CFC Azul as Boston was outplayed in the sweltering heat at Scarborough High School in Maine.

Only two minutes into the game that kicked off in 90-degree temperatures, Portland captain Jason Massie concerted a cross from Blaike Woodruff to steal a 1-0 lead.  The Victory fell further behind after 10 minutes when Santos committed a foul just inside the penalty area and Eric Anderson stepped up to dispatch the spot kick.

Eight minutes later the Phoenix effectively sealed all three points as Itode Fubara threaded the ball through for Ben Havey to delicately lift his shot over exposed keeper Jason Katz for the home team’s third goal.

It was rough justice on Katz, rewarded with his second straight start having kept a clean sheet on Wednesday night on his debut as Boston beat Worcester Hydra 1-0 to end their season at home on a winning note.

The Victory adjusted as Fabio Baros was replaced by Dan Ashman with only 20 minutes on the clock and the defender who had seen only one minute of previous action slotted in at right back as Nic Santarlasci moved into midfield.

Katz did well to save a well-placed goal-bound Anderson header in the 25th minute before the Victory enjoyed a rare foray forward as Manuel Veiga tested home keeper Will Dieterich from distance.

Halftime promoted three substitutions from the Phoenix and Boston introduced defender Tim Doyle for forward Paul Latif and again altered their formation.

Things turned ugly eight minutes after the break as Santos squared up to Rory Kennedy, head-butted the home defender and then the pair traded punches as players from both teams joined the melee.   The players were eventually separated and shown red cards, the dismissal for Santos coming in his first game back from a two game suspension after he was sent off in stoppage time of a 1-1 draw at Seacoast United on July 5.

Hayk Kaya might have pulled a goal back after 73 minutes but failed to generate power or direction as he fired a ball headed back across goal by Veiga straight at the home keeper.

Portland had made four more personnel changes and one of the substitutes, Keegan Ziada, converted a cross from fellow sub John Murphy with 15 minutes to play. 

Dave DeMelo ventured forward for Boston in reply and found Mohamed Elsayed Amhed, but the Egyptian’s finish was tame and held by sub keeper Aidan McParland.

Ziada turned provider from the left with a cross that Andrew Jones side-footed home from close range to complete the scoring.

The Victory’s best chance of the game came after 85 minutes and fell to Player of the Year Hellah Sidibe, whose trickery took him into the Phoenix penalty area, but his shot flashed across the face of the goal.

 

Hellah Sidibe Named 2012 Player of the Year

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Hellah Sidibe has been named the Boston Victory Player of the Year, winning the inaugural ‘V Award’ that recognizes a player’s commitment to the team and performances on the field for the Quincy-based club.

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Victory coach Sergio Taborda selected the versatile Sidibe, who hails from Mali, and has become a mainstay of the Boston defense in the second half of the season.  He lines up as a defender, but also brings an offensive spark to the team and his 13 shots this season are second on the team behind midfielder Andrew Sousa.

“Hellah has done everything we asked of him since joining the club and has battled every minute of every game for the Victory,” said Taborda.  “We have had a tough season and have overcome some challenges, but he is typical of the players who believe in what we are trying to achieve and have remained loyal and determined.”

Sidibe signed the day after Boston’s opening home game, their second of the 2012 Premier Development League season, and made his debut the following week as a substitute with three minutes remaining of a loss away to Western Mass Pioneers.  In 2011 he played his junior year for the University of Massachusetts Minutemen.

Sidibe patiently spent time on the bench in the next two games, seeing limited action, before in his first start he assisted on Sousa’s goal away to Ottawa Fury.  He had established himself as the starter in the left back position by the time Ottawa visited in mid-June and with license to roam forward, soon added an attacking threat down the left wing.  While yet to find the net, Sidibe led the team three times in shots this season.

Sidibe and the Victory wrap up the 2012 PDL season away to GPS Portland Phoenix on Saturday, kickoff 6pm at Scarborough High School near Portland, ME.

(Photo by Chris Aduama / aduama.com)

Victory Sign Off In Quincy With A WIn

By Matt Feltz

Manuel Veiga’s first goal for the Boston Victory sent fans home happy, earning a 1-0 win over the Worcester Hydra in the final home match of the season. The lone goal came in the 23rd minute, when a corner from Ruben Resendes was not cleared by the Hydra defense, falling to Keegan Campbell inside the penalty area. Campbell’s low left-footed volley was tipped in by Veiga (pictured) to give the Victory a lead it would not relinquish.

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The Victory (3-10-2) closed out its home schedule at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy with a strong performance, seeking vengeance for Saturday’s 6-0 loss at the hands of the Hydra. Six minutes in, new acquisition Mohamed Elsayed showed excellent touch to free himself for a shot from just outside the box. The Egyptian winger’s effort was pulled a shade wide of the left post.

On the quarter hour, the Hydra offered their only true chance of the first half. Jeff MacDonald outpaced the Victory back line, racing in from the left wing with teammates lined up inside the box. Resendes was unable to clear his centering pass, deflecting it right to Worcester midfielder Laurence Braude. Fortunately for Victory keeper Jason Katz, making his debut in the Boston goal, Braude’s close-range shot soared well over the bar.

Just after the Victory took the lead, Zico Veiga had a great chance to double it, firing a right-footed volley on goal from 15 yards away, forcing Hydra keeper Oliver Blum to parry the ball wide for a corner. That set piece again found Campbell, whose far-post volley prompted another sharp save from Blum.

The first opportunity of the second half also fell to the Victory, when Hayk Kaya’s through ball left the Hydra defense scrambling to chase down Manuel Veiga. Looking for his second goal of the night, Veiga blasted his shot over the shoulder of substitute keeper Jose Silva, but hit the side netting. At first, both Veiga and the crowd thought he had scored, but the Victory lead remained 1-0.

Worcester then laid siege on the Victory goal for the final half hour. First, Matheus Candido broke free on the left wing, but Katz charged out to the ball and snagged the midfielder’s quick shot. Soon after, Ambry Moss found room on the right behind Hellah Sidibe and picked out Michael Bustamante with a low centering pass. The shot was unable to match the setup, as Bustamante dragged it low and wide of the net.

With two minutes to go, a poor clearance from Nic Santarlasci provided a chance for Moss from the left side, but Katz was again able to hang onto a dangerous shot. Then seconds before the final whistle, Yaya Sylla whiffed on an acrobatic volley attempt, watching the ball roll harmlessly out of play to end the game.

Victory head coach Sergio Taborda praised his new keeper and other players who had waited patiently on the bench before making an impact tonight.

“The players who stayed, they saw time, they performed, they had opportunity to show their football, and they deserve this win,” Taborda said. “So for them, I only have good things to say, and I really appreciate them. They stuck with me to the end.”

Katz credited fellow Victory goalies Jordan Bar and Vinny Papageorgiou for helping prepare him for his spotlight moment.

“I knew Vinny before the club, would train with him in the offseason, he’d give me pointers, especially on breakaways,” Katz explained. “And even Jordan in practices would point out little things, so you never know everything, and there’s always stuff to learn from each other. So it’s great working with older guys.”

The Victory will travel to Maine on Saturday to take on GPS Portland Phoenix, hoping to end the season on a high note and spoil Portland’s chances of winning the PDL Northeast Division. The Phoenix downed Boston 2-0 in Quincy on June 23.

TEAMS

Boston: Katz; Santarlasci, Campbell, DeMelo, Sidibe; Resendes, Elsayed, Barros, M.Veiga; Kaya, Z.Veiga (Doyle 87)

Worcester: Blum (Silva 45); Moss, Ager, Guidici, Washington; Braude (Bustamante 28), Candido, Ciccone (Monteiro 72), MacDonald; Badgie, Materazzo (Sylla 28)

VICTORY SEE RED TWICE ON THE ROAD AND COME HOME WITH A POINT TO ESCAPE THE FOOT OF THE STANDINGS

Boston Victory took a point and saw red twice in two tough road games this week, securing a 1-1 draw away to Seacoast United on Thursday before going down 6-0 at Worcester Hydra on Saturday night.

The Quincy-based team returns to action this Wednesday, July 11 at 7pm at Veterans Memorial Stadium with an instant opportunity to gain revenge over Worcester. The game will be the Victory’s last home appearance of the season then they wrap up the 2012 Premier Development League campaign away to title-chasing GPS Portland Phoenix on July 14.

The Victory took the lead after 46 minutes when midfielder Russell Oost-Lievense found the net, snapping an unwanted six-game scoreless streak. But after 77 minutes former Boston midfielder Marc Djessouho, who played for the Victory during preseason, set up Kenny Doublette for the equalizing goal.

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The Victory settled for bringing a point home from New Hampshire and climed off the foot of the PDL Northeast Division, but also had substitute Joao Santos sent on during stoppage time.

On Saturday, Alencar Junior, who had scored both goals when Worcester spoiled Boston’s opening home game back in May, struck again for the Hydra from a free kick after 29 minutes.

The goal came at a high price for the Victory as goalkeeper Vinny Papageorgiou was harshly sent off for the foul that led to the free kick and without a spare keeper on the bench, defender Keegan Campbell was forced to take over between the posts.

Playing a man down, Boston only conceded once more before halftime, but Campbell was beaten four times after the break in an eventual 6-0 defeat.

Two First Half Goals Sink The Victory

By Matt Feltz

Jordan Branco notched a pair of first-half goals to lift the Western Mass Pioneers to a 2-0 win over the Boston Victory on Saturday night in Quincy.

The midfielder’s first strike put the Victory in an early hole, as DJ Pereira’s low diagonal ball eluded three Boston defenders and made it to Branco, unmarked at the far post. From there, he had time to pick his spot and beat Vinny Papageorgiou, giving the Pioneers the lead in the seventh minute.

Branco again had plenty of time on the ball in the 32nd minute, when he was on the receiving end of a cross from Eddie Bogle on the right wing. The Victory defenders were too late to challenge Branco, who again settled the ball and placed his shot past Papageorgiou.

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The match would always be a challenge for the Victory, playing without the injured Andrew Sousa and suspended Ruben Resendes. On the back foot after Branco’s first goal, the hesitant Boston defense nearly allowed three more goals in the first twenty minutes.

First, a defense splitting pass freed Pioneers forward Ryan Malone, but Pat Hamilton scrambled to prevent Malone from getting off a shot, and Papageorgiou was able to pluck the ball off his toe. Then the Victory keeper almost gave Malone a goal, misplaying the ball on the edge of the penalty area, but Malone was unable to control the ball and make the most of the gift. Finally, a long-range effort from Trey Jasenski was saved by Papageorgiou, with Malone waiting to slam home the rebound at point-blank range. The keeper’s quick reflexes were just enough to deny Malone’s effort.

The best chance for the hometown Victory came right before halftime, thanks to a lightning-quick run from left back Hellah Sidibe. Charging through the center of the defense, he probably should have had a shot on goal, but stumbled and was judged to be fouled by Jasenski. Paul Latif lined up the ensuing free kick in a dangerous position, but it hit the wall and deflected well wide of the net.

Finding themselves down 2-0 at the half for the second time this week, the Victory needed to answer, and nearly did. Seven minutes after the break, Latif played a perfect long-range diagonal ball for Alan Vieira, just ahead of the Pioneers’ back line. The Boston striker was not quite able to free himself for an uncontested shot, and his attempt was blocked and rolled out of play. From the corner that followed, the ball fell for Latif, who couldn’t settle his well-struck shot enough to keep it below the crossbar.

Branco continued to run riot on the Victory at the other end of the pitch, making a patient lateral run before springing Kevin Zapata with a through ball. Again, Papageorgiou was sharp enough to deny the attempt on goal. Then, with the Victory desperately searching for a goal, Branco found himself all alone on the left wing following a low cross. His attempt at a hat trick sailed well over the bar, not challenging the Victory net.

Boston’s best late opportunities came through Sidibe, who had pushed up into a forward role to try to grab a goal. With 15 minutes to play, he showed nice footwork to control the ball at the edge of the penalty area. While his hard left-footed shot was starting to dip toward the goal, it was still too high to challenge keeper Warren Gross.

Then Sidibe spun away from Jasenski, just named to the PDL Team of the Week, and bore down on the Western Mass net again. His run took him too wide of the goal, and his sharp-angled attempt was high and wide of the net.

Victory head coach Sergio Taborda praised Sidibe’s hard work in the midst of another disappointing performance from the squad as a whole.

“Hellah Sidibe plays wherever I want, always fights,” Taborda said. “He’s a player that I have the pleasure to work with. He’s very respectful and he fights till the last minute.”

On the flip side, Taborda urged a similar effort from the rest of the team for the final two weeks of the PDL season.

“They need to understand one thing. To stick here for next year, they need to fight for a spot, and I’m watching them,” the coach explained. “I need players who fight for me, who fight for this club, who respect this club, and what I’m feeling is that players already quit. I will rebuild the team with someone who can fight for me.”

The Victory (2-9-1) will be on the road for three of the last four matches of the year, starting with Thursday’s game against the Seacoast United Phantoms in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. The teams played to a scoreless tie on May 19 in Quincy.

TEAMS

Boston: Papageorgiou; Hamilton, Campbell, DeMelo (Doyle 86), Sidibe; Latif, Santos (Santarlasci 90), Oost-Lievense, Assaf (Barros 64); Kaya, Vieira

W. Mass: Gross; Lopez, Jasenski, Dioubate, Kapinos; Vieira, Zapata, Pereira (Schioppa 86), Branco (Goff 69); Bogle (Ryan 60), Malone (Wilson 55)

Boston Suffers Road Loss In Vermont

Boston Victory suffered a 3-0 midweek defeat in Vermont and swapped places with their Voltage hosts at the foot of the PDL Northeast Division table.

The Victory (2-8-1) went behind early to the Voltage (2-8-2) as Bozidar Jelovac latched on to a perfect through ball from Etienne Boulanger and rounded keeper Vinny Papageorgiou to score.

On the half -hour mark the comeback challenge facing Boston increased as midfielder Ruben Resendes (pictured) was sent off for deliberate handball to prevent the hosts from doubling their lead.  The red card was followed by Voltage skipper Liam Gilbert stepping up to bury the resulting penalty, sending the Victory keeper the wrong way from the spot.

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With the extra man advantage, Vermont pressured the Boston goal after the break, totaling 19 shots, and scored an inevitable third goal through Ognjen Perucica.

The Victory return to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday to host the Western Mass Pioneers at 7pm.  The last time the team met in Ludlow, Boston enjoyed a man advantage for the second half after the Pioneers had a player sent of before the interval, but was unable to prevent a 1-0 defeat.

Victory Fall To Resurgent Phoenix

By Matt Feltz

A pair of goals by Sean Hoek gave GPS Portland Phoenix a 2-0 win over the Boston Victory on Saturday night in Quincy.  The first strike came in the 39th minute, as Blaike Woodruff eluded Victory defender Matt Keys on the right of the goal, then picked out Hoek in the center of the box.  Despite the traffic in front of the Phoenix forward, he had no problem placing his shot past Boston keeper Vinny Papageorgiou and inside the left post.

Hoek’s second goal, scored eight minutes after halftime, was practically a mirror image of the first.  Joel Thiessen worked free to the left of the Victory goal before finding Hoek in space.  The striker’s left-footed effort was good enough to hit the net and put the Victory (2-7-1) into an insurmountable hole.

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Victory head coach Sergio Taborda hoped for more consistency from his team, which was unable to build off a strong performance last Saturday against the Ottawa Fury.

“It’s the same players, it’s the same formation, the attitude on the first half was poor,” Taborda said.  “We are in the midseason, and these teams, they’re fighting for the top. So they come here with everything, and I thought the players’ attitude today was kind of, they give up.”

The Phoenix asserted control of the match in the first half, helped by some sloppy defending from the Victory.  On the quarter hour mark, Keegan Campbell lost control of the ball at the edge of the box, leading to a quick shot from Ben Havey.

Thiessen looked to dip his long diagonal shot under the crossbar, but Papageorgiou got a fingertip on the shot to tip it over the goal.  The ensuing corner found Portland forward Jason Massie in the center of the box, whose low shot had to be cleared off the line by Ruben Resendes.

The Victory had their best chance of the half just before Hoek’s first goal, starting with impressive work from Zico Veiga. The forward chested down a long pass, then stuck a toe on the ball to play it oncoming teammate Andrew Sousa.  It looked like Sousa was clear on goal, but Neil Harries swept in from behind and deflected his shot wide of the post.

The second half was mostly a series of Portland chances, starting with Hoek’s second goal.  Three minutes after setting up Hoek, Thiessen just missed two Portland players in the box with his cross.  Then on the hour, a free kick caught Papageorgiou in no man’s land, forcing an alert headed clearance from David DeMelo.

In the 66th minute, defender Keys almost deflected a Portland cross into his own net.  Woodruff was standing all by himself to volley home the deflection, but ended up sweeping it well over the bar.  Then Massie played a beautiful through ball for left back Brian Fekete, which required a great save from Papageorgiou to keep the game at 2-0.

Substitute Hayk Kaya had a golden opportunity to give the Victory a consolation goal, rounding Portland keeper Terrance Dieterich three minutes from the final whistle.  With the hard work done, Kaya only needed to tap the ball into the open net, but somehow managed to hit the post.  The ball deflected to Veiga, who looked to be pushed in the back as he tried to shoot, but the referee failed to spot the infraction.

Fireworks ensued at the final whistle, as Portland defenders disapproved of the way Victory defender Pat Hamilton challenged Dieterich for a corner.  The referees and coaches had to separate the players as they headed back to the locker room.

The Victory got more disappointing news when skipper Sousa had to leave the game in the 77th minute with a hamstring injury.  The former New England Revolution reserve has been a bright spot for the team all season, but is unlikely to return for the last five games of the year.

Taborda expects the team to step up after the captain’s injury, though Sousa will be a difficult man to replace.

“Sousa has potential to play a high level, and he needed to play until the end of the season to show what he can do.  We feel for him,” Taborda said.  “We’re going to be true to ourselves, we have some quality. I believe them.”

It will be a two-match week for Boston, as the club heads to Vermont to take on the Vermont Voltage on Wednesday night.  The Voltage were the last team to lose to Boston, when Sousa scored the only goal in a 1-0 win on June 9th.  Then the team returns home to Veterans Memorial Stadium on Saturday night to take on the Western Mass Pioneers, with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 pm.

TEAMS

Boston: Papageorgiou; Hamilton, Campbell, Keys, DeMelo, Resendes; Oost-Lievense (Vieira 56), Latif (Kaya 73), Assaf (Sidibe 45); Sousa (Barros 77), Z.Veiga

Portland: Dieterich; Kennedy, Short, Harries, Fekete; Woodruff, Havey, Thiessen, Fubara; Hoek (Banks 70), Massie

Cruel last minute goal downs Victory against league leaders

By Matt Feltz

Ottawa Fury forward William Beauge tucked home a stoppage-time winner to stun the Boston Victory 1-0 in Easton, Massachusetts.  Beauge’s late strike cruelly downed the home team moments after the width of a post had denied Boston a late victory and kept the Fury atop the Northeast Division standings.

The sucker punch came immediately after the near miss from Victory captain Andrew Sousa at the other end of the field.  Drew Beckie slid a perfect through ball to Beauge, who outpaced the Victory back line and tapped his shot past keeper Vinny Papageorgiou into the bottom corner.

Victory head coach Sergio Taborda applauded his players’ attitude, despite the late stunner.

“We deserved to get out of here with more than what we got today,” Taborda said.  “I’m glad for the attitude.  It’s a tough loss, they are the top of the league.  We showed that we can play against the best teams, just the results are not happening.”

Neither side scored in a contentious first half filled with chances.  Ten minutes in Beauge raced through on goal with just Papageorgiou to beat.  Befitting a game against Canadian opposition, the Victory keeper denied Beauge with a hockey-style kick save.  Victory midfielder Paul Latif showed nice touch to bring down an aerial pass and equally impressive skill to pick out Zico Veiga in space, but the striker’s quick shot narrowly missed to the right of the post.

The combination of Beckie and Beauge also bothered the Victory defense in the first half.  Beckie’s low shot from the right side of the box prompted another kick save from Papageorgiou in the 13th minute.  On the quarter-hour mark, Beauge looked to be played through on goal, but defender Matt Keys used his size to full advantage in blocking the shot with a long leg.

At the other end of the field, Veiga continued to threaten the Fury goal, with two more excellent chances in short succession.  Pat Hamilton, allowed to get forward in a wingback role, raced down the right flank and hit Veiga with a cross right in front of Nils Carlson’s goal.  Veiga’s diving header was again just wide.  Then Latif connected with Veiga again, his centering pass prompting a whirling left-footed effort from the Cape Verdean, which sailed just over the bar.

The Fury nearly scored seconds before halftime, as Niall Crick found Carlo Basso alone in front of goal for a header.  The Fury forward directed it straight at Papageorgiou, who palmed it wide of the goal.  Basso had a similar free header eight minutes into the second half, but Papageorgiou was not called into action, as the Fury forward directed the ball just over the crossbar.

The Victory dominated the final 10 minutes, starting with the hard-working Hamilton’s pursuit of a loose ball that seemed to have Carlson rooted to his spot in front of the Fury net.  Hamilton just managed to stick a toe on the ball, but could only poke it wide.  With two minutes remaining in regulation, Sousa’s corner was cleared to Russell Oost-Lievense at the edge of the box.  The midfielder opted to for a first-time shot, which was well high and wide.

But the best chance for the Victory came right before the heartbreaker from Beauge.  Ruben Resendes freed himself along the left sideline and wowed the Fury defense with a series of stepovers before teeing up Sousa from 25 yards.  The Victory captain let fly with a perfectly struck effort that took a deflection and still nearly curled past Carlson at the near post.  Instead of finding the net, the ball hit the woodwork and went out, setting the stage for Beauge’s heroics at the other end.

The Victory (2-6-1) return to their familiar home in Quincy next Saturday to take on GPS Portland Phoenix at Veterans Memorial Stadium, kickoff 7:00 pm. The two clubs have yet to cross paths this season.

TEAMS

Boston: Papageorgiou; Hamilton, Keys, Campbell, DeMello, Sidibe; Resendes, Oost-Lievense, Latif (Assaf 65); Sousa, Z.Veiga (Vieira 72)

Ottawa: Carlson; Castro, DiBiase, Manginas, Rajkovic; Beckie, Campbell (Rodriguez 85), Crick, Beattie; Basso (Murphy 82), Beauge

 

Boston Victory downed by CFC Azul in rainy Quincy

By Matt Feltz

Goals from Sonny Narro and Mario Dimiceli earned CFC Azul a 2-0 triumph over the Boston Victory on a rainy Wednesday night in Quincy.  The Victory (2-5-1) surged into life in the last 20 minutes of the match, but were unable to cut into the deficit.

Azul may have been tardy to Veterans Memorial Stadium because of rush-hour traffic, but wasted no time in exerting their initiative on the game.  Midfielder Ryan Kinne, at the center of nearly every attacking move for the visitors, found Narro in space on the left wing for his 16th minute strike.  Narro cut inside on his right foot and fired a low line drive that eluded Victory keeper Vinny Papageorgiou at the near post.

After the goal, Azul dominated play for the remainder of the half, outshooting the Victory 8-0 in the first 45 minutes.  Kinne continually found space in the box through well-timed forays from midfield, pouncing on the ball at every opportunity.  He was able to muster a quick shot on goal in the 24th minute through one such effort, and fired another over the bar six minutes later.

Azul spurned two more chances to score right before halftime.  First, Justin Brewer found Conor Doyle completely unmarked at the far post, but Doyle was unable to direct his header on target.  Then Pat Boucher looped a header past Papageorgiou off a corner kick, which Pat Hamilton was able to head off the line.

The Victory created the first clear chance in the second half, as Paul Latif picked out substitute Lucas Pessanha (pictured) at the far post.  Azul defender Conor Fitzpatrick forced Pessanha to hesitate, and the Brazilian was only able to tap his shot into the arms of keeper Matt Sangeloty.

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But after the hour mark, Azul started to threaten the Victory net again.  Kinne found space in the box after a pass from Brewer, and beat Papageorgiou with his right-footed effort, but defender Matthew Keys was able to clear it off the line.  Narro blasted a header straight at the keeper from the ensuing corner.

The second goal finally came in the 69th minute, as the newly-introduced Dimiceli found himself in space on the counterattack and rocketed a shot past a helpless Papageorgiou.  The goal was Dimiceli’s third in two substitute appearances against the Victory this season.

The 2-0 deficit belatedly seemed to wake up the Victory.  Immediately after the goal, captain Andrew Sousa played Ruben Resendes through on goal with a perfect pass, but Resendes could only push his shot wide of the post.  Sousa had a chance of his own with six minutes to play, when a fortuitous deflected pass left him with only Sangeloty to beat.  The Azul keeper was up to the challenge, sprawling on the ground to make the save.

A beautiful passage of play led to another sterling chance for the Victory, as Hamilton intercepted the ball, spun free, and charged down the right wing.  He found Hellah Sidibe, who then held off the closing defenders and whizzed in a cross for Pessanha at the far post.  Pessanha, playing in his last game for the club before moving on to FC Levadia in Estonia, was unable to cap it off with a goal, as his on-target header deflected off Boucher and popped straight up in the air.

The late flurry of chances was not enough to satisfy Victory head coach Sergio Taborda, who seeks to draw a more consistent effort from his players.

“I saw some players not responding on the right moments when we need it, and that’s kind of frustrating,” Taborda said.  “Every player during the week fights to get a spot on the team, and then when I need the players to develop what they show me during the week, it comes to the game, in the crucial moments, we fail.”

Similarly, skipper Sousa expects more of his teammates to share the attacking burden, starting in the team’s next game on Saturday.

“The guys saw certain players get on the ball and be confident, and the rest of the team was lifted.  Other players have just got to speak up for themselves and take the game by the horns,” Sousa said.

The Victory will head to their home away from home, Oliver Ames High School in Easton, to take on Ottawa Fury on Saturday night, kickoff 7pm.  The Fury bested the Victory 4-1 when the teams last met on June 2.

TEAMS

Boston: Papageorgiou; Hamilton, Keys, Campbell, DeMelo; Oost-Lievense (M.Veiga 78), Resendes (Vieira 70), Latif (Sidibe 78), Assaf (Pessanha 45); Sousa, Z.Veiga

CFC Azul:  Sangeloty; Boucher, Fitzpatrick, Brickley, Menzies; Groves, Brewer (Fokov 69), Kinne, Narro (Zobie 75), Covino; Doyle (Dimiceli 64)

 

Sousa Strike Earns Boston Victory Over Voltage

By Matt Feltz

Andrew Sousa’s 24th minute chip was all the Boston Victory needed to grab the first home win in team history, a 1-0 triumph over the Vermont Voltage.

Sousa’s second goal in successive games seemed to come from nowhere, as a speculative long ball from Paul Latif should not have troubled the Voltage defense. Neither central defender reacted, but Sousa latched onto the pass with an impeccably-timed run and lofted it over Voltage keeper Ryan Brooks-Newton.

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The Victory (2-4-1) had gone five straight games without a win, but goalscorer Sousa and head coach Sergio Taborda agreed that Saturday night’s success was the true measure of the team.

“We just had a little lack of confidence with the bad start,” Sousa explained. “We know we have good players. And I think it’s starting to come together.”

Taborda praised the first-half performance, but saw room for improvement in the coming weeks, saying: “Everybody saw that on the first half, we have a great team. We played great soccer. Second half, we didn’t have the legs to keep up the same level as the first half. But what’s important at the end was the win.”

The teams traded chances during the first 20 minutes, though neither side could get a grip on the game. A dangerous third-minute cross by Voltage winger Bozidar Jelovac needed a sharp clearance from Pat Hamilton to avert further danger. Sousa got himself in superb position for a corner in the 7th minute, but his header sailed over the bar.

The Victory defense was called into action twice more before the goal. Another teasing right-wing cross nearly found the head of Keegan McDonnell, but Victory center backs Matthew Keys and Keegan Campbell teamed up to clear the ball away from danger. Two minutes later, Voltage striker Ognjen Perucica charged at the Victory goal after beautifully controlling an aerial pass. Again, Campbell was equal to the effort, halting the run and preventing Perucica from getting a shot on goal.

After Sousa’s deft chip earned a 1-0 lead, the Victory began to put their stamp on the match. Matheus Assaf and Zico Veiga found plenty of space on the right wing, though neither was able to add to the lead. Just after the half-hour mark, Assaf initially looked to have over-hit his cross, but the ball fell to Veiga at the edge of the 18-yard box. The Cape Verdean striker could not test Brooks-Newton as his shot was too high.

The pair combined again ten minutes later, and this time it was Assaf who shot high, after some slick footwork and a sharp pass from Veiga. Sousa had a chance to double the lead when he lined up a free kick just before halftime, but his effort was parried away by Brooks-Newton as the whistle blew.

The Voltage stayed on the sideline at halftime brooding over the deficit, and it did not take long for their first chance to even the score. Left back Anthony Buehler ran all the way into the box looking for a leveler three minutes into the half. Though he was able to get his head to the ball, he nodded it directly into the arms of grateful Victory goalkeeper Vinny Papageorgiou, making his first appearance of the season.

Assaf continued to torment the Voltage, once more finding space on the right wing in the 54th minute. Though Sousa was free in the center of the box, Assaf opted to shoot, and fired well high and wide of the goal. Four minutes later, he played an inch-perfect through ball to put substitute Lucas Pessanha through on goal. The Brazilian hesitated a second too long, allowing Brooks-Newton to cut down the angle and turn the shot wide.

The Voltage tried in vain to beat Papageorgiou, making his debut in goal in place of the injured Jordan Bar. Buehler again freed himself for a header off a 61st-minute corner, but it was deflected just wide of the post. Jelovac then prompted a diving save from Papageorgiou on the ensuing corner.

The last true chance for the visitors came in the 79th minute, when Victor Tozelli sprinted up from his center back position to make himself available in the box. Papageorgiou spread his arms and legs to narrow the window for Tozelli to shoot, and the defender’s shot struck him harmlessly in the chest.

The Voltage swarmed the Victory goal in search of a last-minute equalizer, but were unable to find a shot to test Papageorgiou. The stifling Victory defense clearly frustrated the visitors, culminating in a yellow card for Brooks-Newton in the 90th minute after shoving Pessanha.

The Victory players stayed on the field after the match to applaud the home crowd, but there will be little time for celebration. The team returns to action Wednesday night back at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy against Ottawa Fury, hoping to avenge last week’s 4-1 loss to the Canadian club.

TEAMS

Boston: Papageorgiou; Hamilton, Keys, Campbell, DeMelo (Sidibe 66); Resendes (Alves 90), Oost-Lievense (Fagundes 54), Sousa, Latif (da Silva 80); Assaf (M.Veiga 62), Z.Veiga (Pessanha 55)

Vermont: Brooks-Newton; Green, Walker (Karam 86), Tozelli, Buehler; Vuckovic (Boulanger 68), Gilbert, Louis; McDonnell (Maffey 86), Jelovac (Flynn 88), Perucica