On a beautiful, cool, Saturday night in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, Greater Lowell NPSL FC hosted the Seacoast United Phantoms, in what turned out to be a very exciting game. For Lowell, this match was an opportunity to come back after last week’s tough loss to Elm City. For Seacoast, it was their season opener and a chance to start off on a high note.
In the first half, Lowell looked much better than they did last week against Elm City. This week Lowell was able to build upon their impressive defensive performance and started to force turnovers higher up the field as well as creating some more offence. In fact, Lowell put two shots on target in the first half, two more than last week against Elm City.
Seacoast’s first and only shot on target didn’t come until the 43rd minute when they earned a penalty kick, which was saved by Lowell goalkeeper Cooper Hall.
Thanks to another solid defensive performance and an improved offensive performance, the half ended with the score tied at zero across the board.
Because of an injury sustained to center midfielder Alexander Carvajal, Lowell was forced to make a change going into the second half, moving center back Doug Searl forward and defender Patrick DeRosa into the center back position. Despite this change, Lowell’s defense didn’t miss a beat and continued to frustrate the Phantoms attack.
In the second half, both teams came out attacking at a faster pace which led to more offensive action as well as free kicks.
“It was a scrappy game,” said Marcos Vieira. “We (Lowell) battled hard until the end and earned ourselves an important PK.”
This led to some dangerous free kicks for Seacoast, which turned out to be where they generated most of their offense. However, it also turned out to be their ultimate downfall.
In the 75th minute forward Quincy Appah played a cross to the far post where defender Patrick Hamilton headed the ball towards goal which struck the arm of a seacoast defender. The referee blew the whistle and pointed to the spot awarding Lowell a penalty kick. Winger Alexander Alleyne stepped up to take the penalty and struck it hard to the left, deflecting off the goalkeeper on the way into the back of the net, for Lowell’s first goal of the season and the game-winner.
Vieira commented further. “We can start to see our system begin to work and shape itself within the team as players are better adapting to their roles.”
“It’s great to get our first win so we can make it a habit,” said DeRosa after a solid performance.
After the game, Appah added that “everyone worked hard, obviously, we (Lowell) have a lot of work to do, but it’s a good result and we will take it from there.”