Boston Victory and Seacoast United Phantoms ended locked in a scoreless tie despite a second half littered with shots and scoring chances at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Quincy on Saturday evening.
A forgettable first half was eclipsed by a catalogue of opportunities to break the deadlock but a combination of fine saves and spurned chances kept both goals in tact.
The Victory introduced Zico Veiga and Andrew Sousa after halftime and the game came to life. Former New England Revolution midfielder Sousa (pictured) stung the hands of visiting keeper Jon Dawson with a curling effort that was tipped around the post five minutes after the break. Veiga too got in on the action, seeing his shot deflected onto the roof of the net.
Jordan Thomas headed just over for the Phantoms and then substitute Charlie Roche could only direct his downward header from a Steven Palumbo cross at home keeper Jordan Bar with his first touch of the game as Seacoast threatened. Palumbo also tried his luck from distance with 65 minutes played with a shot that bounced awkwardly and Bar gathered at the second attempt.
With 15 minutes to play, Seacoast’s livewire forward Palumbo tested Bar for a third time from the inside left position and this time with a stinging shot that forced an acrobatic parry from the keeper. His trickery then played substitute Matt Glode through but his lofted finish flew well over the top.
Bar beat Roche to a through ball footrace, but his clearance looked to have lost the Victory the contest late in the game as the ball cannoned off his own defender John Dumbuya and fell only inches wide of the unprotected target.
Sousa and Paul Latif for Boston and Dylan George for United fired wild efforts towards goal as the action continued until the final kick, but there was to be no dramatic winner.
The Victory has now won, lost twice and drawn its opening four PDL games, while Phantoms remain top of the Northeast table with two wins and two draws to their credit.
The opening 30 minutes produced little in the way of scoring chances, other than after a quarter of an hour when Brad Hilton’s shot out of nothing from distance rattled the Boston cross bar. Hilton had earlier driven a free kick into the Victory wall and overlapping fullback George and forward Palumbo then sent in a probing crosses from either flank that Bar had to collect to combat the danger.
The half came to life briefly when both sides fell foul of scrappy passes back to their own goalkeepers. Bar handled illegally in his penalty area to concede an indirect free kick, but Palumbo’s tame shot into the wall was dealt with easily. A minute later, visiting keeper Dawson completely miss judged Thomas’s back pass and swung wildly at the ball, which flew past his own post as Matheus Assaf was unable to pounce on the loose ball as it spun out for a corner.