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.
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.
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)