Boston City put their National Premier Soccer League playoff plans back on track with a comfortable 3-1 win away to rivals the Rhode Island Reds as Isaac Nana Addai again punished his former team.
The reigning NPSL Golden Boot and Golden Ball winner scored his seventh and eight goals of the season as he found the net twice, adding to a hat-trick he scored against the Reds in a 3-3 draw back in May.
The Lions went ahead and early and never looked back. There had been few clear chances before the 17-minute mark when Addai scored on the end of a swift counter attack. Fellow ex-Red Camilo Estrada flicked on a pass with the outside of his boot for Addai to release Filipe Dutra beyond the last defender and the young defender-turned-striker played a perfect low pass across the box for Addai to apply a decisive finish.
“Nana sent me clear and I looked up and saw that a pass to him was a better option than going for goal myself and he scored,” said Dutra, whose true position is either in the heart of defense or midfield, but he is standing in as an emergency forward due to injuries.
The hosts might have gone ahead after only ten minutes, but Ronaldinho Diniz put his finish wide with keeper Alexssandro exposed as the assistant referee kept his flag down.
Boston City took further advantage after 30 minutes when Jadson Leite cut inside from the left and while running at goal was clumsily pulled down inside the penalty area by Dante Lamb. Addai stepped up to beat Nils Leifhelm from the spot for the third time in two matches, sending the keeper the wrong way and finding the bottom right corner.
Goalkeeper Vitor Scariot, who earned All-NPSL honors in 2016, replaced Alexssandro after halftime, the recent signing struggling with a groin strain. Just 13 minutes into his return, his long punt downfield was headed backwards by Reds defender Joshua Jess, but what might have been a bizarre own goal was held by Leifhelm.
Kevin Herrera entered the play after 66 minutes and had an immediate effect. Two minutes later he found Michael Rincon wide on the right, and his cross was met inside the six-yard box by a stooping Dutra header for his second goal in as many games and a convincing 3-0 lead.
“It isn’t my natural position and I struggled at first in training, but I’m learning from a great goal scorer in coach Palhinha,” said Dutra. “I’ve played forward before, in high school, and I scored a lot of goals.”
The Lions made multiple changes as the second half progressed and after a scare when Diniz poked a good chance wide, conceded a goal with four minutes remaining. Substitute Jonathan Argueta’s heavy challenge resulted in a penalty and Cory Cardeiro sent Scariot the wrong way from the spot.
Addai almost claimed his hat-trick, but Leifheim twice produced a fine reflex blocks to deny him.
With their three-match road trip at and end, Boston City returns home to Malden Catholic High School at 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 24 for the visit of New York Athletic Club.