July 10, 2016 MAKE IT NINE Boston City playing for home-field advantage
LOWELL, Mass. -- Boston City FC secured a dramatic 3-2 victory over Greater Lowell United, scoring twice and saving a penalty kick in the final minutes Saturday night.
BCFC (10-3-2, 32 points) and Greater Lowell meet in the regular-season finale at Malden Catholic High School at 6 p.m. Sunday, the Lions having clinched an NPSL playoff berth and needing at least a draw to gain home-field advantage in the first round. Boston City has a nine-match unbeaten streak and six-game winning streak.
Lowell took a 2-1 lead as Alexander Alleyne raced through and fired home in the 68th minute. Lions substitute Valerio Silva tied the score from close range during a scramble in front of goal after a corner in the 85th minute.
Then, in the dying seconds of regulation time, Marcello Cunha was adjudged to have committed a foul just inside the penalty area, which was at first awarded as a free kick outside the area. Alleyne stepped up but 18-year-old Victor Scariot dove right to save.
The greatest drama was still to come during four minutes of added time. A
contested handball call earned Lowell a free kick, goalkeeper Cooper Hall moving forward. Bruno Bonicontro cleared the blocked free kick, Silva played the ball through, leading a three-man rush the length of the pitch, right back Guilherme Desousa steered the ball into an open net.
"I don't know why their goalie came up when it was a tied game, but I guess they wanted the win," Desousa said. "The only thing I was thinking was that if Bruno got the ball to Valerio and I made a run it would be two against one. This is what comes from us doing conditioning and we fight until the end, so I'm glad Valerio made the pass and I'm glad I was able to finish it to help the team win.
"We came back like this in games before so our team has the composure to hold it together and do things like this. It wasn't our best performance, but we weren't going to lose our focus."
Boston City captain Ronaldo Vieira opened the scoring in the 15th minute, but was injured and replaced by Silva in the 34th minute.
United equalized 10 minutes before halftime on a Kevin Herrera goal, Bonicontro cleared Alexander Carvajal's header off the line on a corner kick.
Scariot made saves in the 61st and 76th minutes to deny John Dumbaya and Patrick Hamilton and Michael Bustamante, who lead the Lions with six goals, missed high.