Boston City FC survived three extra time red cards to take a penalty kicks win over the Western Mass Pioneers in a U.S. Open Cup match at Lusitano Stadium Wednesday night.
Former New England Revolution Academy midfielder Kevin Herrera converted the clinching penalty after BCFC twice rallied from deficits as the teams played to a 2-2 draw through 120-plus minutes.
BCFC, leading the Atlantic White Division of the NPSL and making its U.S. Open Cup debut, will meet the GPS Omens at Malden Catholic High School’s Brother Gilbert Field at 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 16.
“No pressure, I mean we practiced penalties yesterday,’’ said Herrera, who also assisted on the tying goal in extra time. “I took three, made all three right into the bottom right corner, so why switch it up?”
“I’ve never been in a situation like this. I missed a penalty last year in college (Daniel Webster College) but I wasn’t worried about that. This was just way more important, way more pressure, but at the end of the day we’re soccer players and this is what we need to do.”
The PDL Pioneers took the lead on a Mike Goncalves 51 st -minute goal. Then, BCFC coach Palhinha went to the bench for offensive reinforcements, the move paying off on Jhonata Batista’s 77th minute equalizer off a Nana Isaac Addai feed.
“I think Palhinha definitely knew what he was doing with the subs,” Herrera said. “But I’m just here to try to win the game. We’ve been planning this for two months and this is just the first step.”
The Pioneers’ direct play paid off with Goncalves’ early second half goal. Palhinha soon added Herrera in midfield and Yaw Addow and Kamali Webson up front. The BCFC equalizer resulted from the team’s high pressing tactics, goalkeeper Vitor Scariot playing as a sweeper, far out of the penalty area.
Western Mass threatened early with long balls and long throw-ins. BCFC attempted to play out of the back, the game settling down about midway through the opening half. Referee Randall Kelley cautioned Western Mass defender Lasse Olrik for a foul on Batista in the 13 th minute, the first of 12 yellow cards (seven for BCFC) for the contest.
Western Mass had the best early chance, Goncalves chipping a 19 th -minute half volley just over the bar with Scariot out of the net. Boston City struggled to break through, squandering its best chance as Batista took a 28 th -minute 30-yarder with Addai breaking free, Palhinha admonishing him from the bench. BCFC midfielder Filipe Dutra earned a 40th minute caution after grabbing Christopher Roswess near the center circle, the second yellow card of the opening half.
The game opened up quickly in the second half, as Kelley issued 10 cautions and four red cards after halftime.
Goncalves scored with a left-foot half volley off an Evan Burokas feed, Burokas advancing to take possession off a failed Paulo Henrique clearance.
Batista equalized with a 77 th -minute low shot from the left of the penalty area into the right side of the net after Addai slipped a pass in from the edge of the area.
Barokas scored 40 seconds into extra time, one-timing from the edge of the penalty area off a Maxi Viera pull back. With BCFC playing a man short, Webson equalized, redirecting a header off a Herrera cross in the 106th minute.
BCFC lost Paulo Henrique (103rd minute), Ronaldo Vieira (116th ) and Webson (120th ) and the
Pioneers lost Mauricio Coimbra (120th) to red cards.
In penalty kicks, BCFC took a 5-4 edge as Scariot saved on Viera and BCFC made all of its attempts, by Addai, Batista, defenders Gabriel De Souza and Guilherme Desouza, then Herrera.
“I played with the Revolution for three years,” Herrera said. “I think I’ve mature a lot as a player. I was 13 when I went in, 16 when I went out. I’m 20 now and definitely trying to prove myself on the big stage and I think this definitely is a step toward that.”