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.
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.
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)