Article by Michael Preston
The Boston Victory snatched a tie from the jaws of defeat as they clawed their way back from two goals down to finish level at 2-2 with Junior Lone Star FC, scoring twice in the final three minutes.
Boston’s new professional soccer club found themselves behind after only six minutes and conceded again against the preseason visitors from Philadelphia to go in behind at halftime having also missed a penalty. But two substitutes salvaged a deserved draw as a precise chip from Hayk Kaya and a Paul Latif penalty with almost the final kick of the game delighted the home crowd at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy.
The Victory will open the 2012 PDL season in Quincy against Worcester Hydra at 7pm on Saturday, May 12.
“We got the draw because we fought until the end and that is very motivating for the next games,” said Victory coach Sergio Taborda. “We played well but I think that the midfield was relaxed and we gave too many balls away and that was very costly for us. At halftime we corrected and the attitude was excellent and the reaction of the players was great.”
Carlos Monteiro had the ball in the net for the Victory in the opening exchanges from a header, but saw his effort ruled out for offside before the visitors stole a sixth minute lead. James Gaeyea played a defense splitting pass from midfield that found Jerome Pour, who side-stepped keeper Vinny Papageorgiou and calmly slotted the ball into the empty net.
Matheus Assaf drove a 20-yard shot inches over the cross bar for Boston after 16 minutes and Frank Julio Tsasse slipped a shot just past the post as Lone Star replied immediately.
The Victory’s Marc Djessouho supplied crosses from the right wing that caused problems in the visitors’ penalty area, but the hosts could not force an equalizer.
With ten minutes remaining in the half, Joe Joe Jappah robbed a hesitant Djessouho of the ball in midfield and found Mohamed Camara unmarked just inside the right side of the 18-yard box. The forward, who had received a yellow card earlier, produced a clinical chip over keeper Vinny Papageorgiou for a second Lone Star goal.
Boston should have halved the deficit a minute before halftime when Lucas Pessanha’s shot was handled in the penalty area, but the Brazilian’s spot kick was well saved by Frank Julio Tsasse and the chance went begging.
After the break, Camara completely miss-kicked at a chance to score a third goal for Lone Star and although the Victory picked up the tempo and impressed in terms of possession and dictating the play, a goal in reply would not come.
Pessanha combined well with Veiga, whose shot curled just wide, new signing Andrew Sousa twice fired over the cross bar and Ruben Resendes saw a low drive parried away to safety by Tsasse.
Hayk had been introduced as a late substitute for Sousa and when he ran on to a perfectly weighted through ball that opened the defense with three minutes remaining, his lob gave the visiting keeper no chance and the Victory could sense a comeback was on the cards.
“I think we proved that we stayed positive throughout the game,” said Hayk. “I was just hoping that we would score and the chance came to me and I did it for the team.”
Hayk was in the thick of the action again when he was fouled in the penalty area by Musa Wiah and this time another substitute, Paul Latif stepped up to claim the spot kick, making no mistake as he sent the keeper the wrong way to equalize.