Boston City FC failed to recover from losing three starters to suspension and ran into a resourceful group of local players in falling, 2-1, to the GPS Omens in a U.S. Open Cup second round match at Della Russo Stadium Wednesday night.
Former Brown University star Keith Caldwell, brother of New England Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell, scored a 22nd-minute goal and kept the BCFC defense off balance in a strike combination with Charlie Romero and substitute Eric Anderson. Former Harvard captain Scott Prozeller added a 60th-minute score for the Omens, then BCFC’s Jhonata Batista cut the deficit in the 76th minute.
The Omens, who play in the amateur Bay State Soccer League, will visit the Rochester Rhinos in a third round match. Boston City, in its second season, resumes NPSL play with a home game against the Seacoast United Mariners May 27.
“We were confident we could win the game,” Caldwell said. “We knew they were a very good team and it wasn’t going to be easy. But we knew going to Portland we could win that (first-round) game and coming into today we were pretty confident we were going to win the game. We have a very good team and everyone played at a high level in college and professionally.”
BCFC threatened early, Isaac Nana Addai driving a third-minute shot off the underside of the bar and Guilherme Desouza firing wide.
But the Omens maintained their composure and Caldwell sent a shot into the far side of the net off a Romero-Harris Smriko buildup.
“Charlie and Harris played a great combination and sprung me down the left,” said Caldwell, who played at Brown from 2002-05 and had tryouts with MLS and USL teams this season. “And I saw their guy coming in full speed, and so I just cut it back across into the middle and saw their ‘keeper near post and was fortunate to bend it into the top corner.”
Late in the half, Desouza’s close-range attempt was blocked and Addai’s follow went barely wide right.
Prozeller headed in a Jake Johnson cross for a two-goal lead. Batista cut the deficit after taking possession off a defender and going in alone on Zach Abdu-Glass.
“We had many chances to win,” BCFC coach Palhinha said. “But then we gave up the goals.”
Referee Jason Pelletier issued five cautions in a game with similar intensity to BCFC’s first-round penalty kick victory over the Western Mass Pioneers. In that May 10 game, 12 cautions and four red cards were issued, Boston City losing defender Paulo Henrique, midfielder Ronaldo Vieira and forward Kamali Webson to extra time ejections.
“We train together and we’re good friends and I think that camaraderie – we have 30 guys that like each other and play together all the time,” Caldwell said. “A lot of us played at Ivy League or NESCAC schools and some of the guys have played 9-10 years on this team together, and we’ve got a fresh group of guys coming out of college this year. We’re really good friends off the field and everyone is extremely competitive, so even when we play pickup twice a week, people fight each other. It’s nasty, because we’re just competitive.”
Last year, the BSSL’s Southie FC fell, 7-0, to the Rhinos.
“Next one’s going to be tough,” Caldwell added. “We’re going to need to be super organized. Rochester’s a great team, we’re going to have to not concede early goals, and I think if we get into halftime and it’s a close game I think we have a chance. But we know it’s not going to be easy. They’re a fantastic team. Southie FC is a fantastic BSSL team – we know how hard of a game it was for them.”