The Kingston Stockade took care of business during the regular season, leaving little at stake in a showdown with Boston City FC Saturday night. But the teams provided a preview of playoff level competition as Boston City took a 2-0 victory over the Stockade before a 512 crowd at Brother Gilbert Stadium.
“We think they’re the second-best team in the conference, so we definitely expect to see them a week from tonight,” Stockade coach David Lindholm said of Boston City.
With first place in the Atlantic White Conference wrapped up, the Stockade (7-4-1, 22 points) rested several starters, in anticipation of playing host to a playoff match Saturday, July 15. BCFC (6-3-3, 21 points) will meet either Hartford City FC or the Rhode Island Reds in a first-round playoff match at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, the winner traveling to Kingston.
“Yeah, I think these are the best two teams,” Boston City captain Ronaldo Vieira said. “Hopefully, we’ll get through Wednesday and we’ll see who’s the better team [Saturday].”
Boston City took the lead on Isaac Nana Addai’s first-half injury time goal, and extended the edge as Leandro Carvalho converted on a counterattack in the third minute of second half added time.
Addai scored his 12th goal of the season, controlling a long Jadson Leite free kick that sailed over the Stockade back line, and sending a close-range left-footer past Steve Skonieczny.
“Tight games between the two teams – it was a lapse in concentration and a counterattacking goal – and it was 2-1 at our place,” Lindholm said. “We’re very evenly-matched teams. They’re a good team, but I think we’re a little better and I think we’ll be able to show that next week.”
Addai combined effectively with Keith Caldwell, brother of New England Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell, who made his BCFC debut. Both Addai and Caldwell were replaced early in the second half as both teams made several substitutions.
The match kicked off 57 minutes late, following two weather delays. Boston City threatened in the sixth minute as Homero Morais went in alone on Skonieczny, who made a sliding stop, recovering for a near post save on Addai. In the 30th minute, Skonieczny advanced near the top of the penalty area to beat Filipe Dutra to an Addai through ball and, seconds later, halted a Michael Rincon point blank try. Boston City threatened off a long clearance from goalkeeper Anthony Ferrara and a shot from distance by Homero Morais before Addai opened the scoring.
The Stockade had several chances to equalize, the best a 49th-minute half volley sent over the bar by substitute David Nkansah-Siriboe and a 78th-minute shot that skimmed the top of the bar by substitute Victor Guirma.
Boston City capitalized as Kingston pushed forward, Luca Tarable, who had replaced Addai in the 58th minute, crossing for Carvalho to touch past Skonieczny just before the final whistle.
“The most logical final would be [Boston City versus the Stockade], but in futebol, you have to show it on the field,” BCFC coach Palhinha said. “We have to win Wednesday to do it.
“You have to have rivalries in futebol. The Stockade is very strong, a very good team. They’ve created this rivalry and this is the best thing for futebol – it creates motivation for the fans, motivation for the players on the field.”
Boston City and the Stockade, both in their second year of existence, have been on a collision course since early in the season. Lindholm said Stockade owner Dennis Crowley, a Massachusetts native, made matches against Boston City a point of emphasis.
“Dennis, at the beginning of the season, told me, we want to beat this team, this is a team we really want to beat,” Lindholm recalled. “So, when we beat them at home we felt good about that. Tonight, it’s too bad we weren’t able to get the result. But we performed well, we brought the intensity, we played all right. So, now we have a week to sort things out and get ready and get guys healthy and play our best 90 minutes next weekend.
“When you get fans like this out – and maybe these fans have been to Revolution games, people in our neighborhood go to Red Bulls games, New York City FC games – it’s a fun experience for them. The crowd, the atmosphere, the fans that cheer at this game, our fans that cheer at our stadium. I mean, it’s a great atmosphere.
“And the level’s high. You can see there’s a ton of intensity and some respect and it’s a battle between these two teams. I’m bummed we didn’t get the result but it was a great game to be a part of and I feel good about where we’re at as a team.”