Western Mass Pioneers 1 Boston Victory 0
Despite playing for almost half the game with an extra man advantage, the Boston Victory slipped to a frustrating 1-0 defeat away to cross-state rival Western Mass Pioneers.
The Quincy-based team suffered a second successive defeat compounded by a defensive error handing the hosts the game’s only goal at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, MA.
Pioneers defender Trey Jasenski was shown a second yellow card only four minutes into the second half for hauling down Zico Veiga while the striker was in full flight. Victory coach Sergio Taborda attempted to capitalize on having an extra man by sacrificing a defender to employ Paul Latif on the right wing and play three across the back line.
But with 65 minutes played, Pioneers substitute Alpha Dioubate pounced as Carlos Monteiro hesitated inside the Victory penalty area, and drilled a low finish past exposed keeper Jordan Bar.
There was still sufficient time for Boston to salvage at least a point, but the visitors struggled to create a clear cut chance and came home empty handed. The Victory now face top of the table Seacoast United Phantoms at home at Veterans Memorial Stadium this Saturday evening, May 19, at 7pm.
Both sides exchanged lightweight scoring chances early on before Jasenski was booked for a late challenge at midfield on Veiga, a foul that would come back to haunt him.
The Pioneers looked to have taken a 26th minute lead when a through ball from DJ Pereya opened up the Victory defense and Ryan Malone’s shot beat Bar, but John Dumbuya was on hand to clear the ball off the goal line. Moments later a powerful header by Brandon Wilson was also hacked away as Boston continued to live dangerously.
Matheus Assaf fired over and then picked up a yellow card for dissent and the Victory almost stole a goal on the stroke of halftime. The industrious Ruben Resendes floated in a free kick and from within a crowded goalmouth, Dumbuya fired over while lying on the ground.
The second half had barely started when the Pioneers were reduced to ten men and it was Western Mass who responded positively as Wilson should have scored but dragged his finish across goal. The hosts were in the ascendency until Latif was introduced into the attack on the hour mark and the Victory poured forward.
But the Boston pressure amounted to little more than half chances as a pair of corners were forced, a Latif cross went begging and Resendes screwed a finish wide of the left upright.
Almost against the run of the play, the Pioneers broke, a hopeful ball into the box found Dioubate, who had only entered the game a minute earlier, and he gratefully accepted the chance to score, much to the frustration of Monteiro who was distraught after his mistake.
Andrew Sousa and Rigoberto Jimenez were introduced as the Victory went searching for an equalizer, but the Pioneers were determined to defend their slender lead. Keeper Bar even lent his presence to the attack for a free kick and a corner in the dying minutes and remained upfield as the clock ticked down, but the tying goal still proved elusive.