Mass. Premier Soccer advanced to the final round of US Open Cup Qualifying with a resounding 8-1 defeat of Stela Negra, in a game that ended in a sucker punch, a subsequent red card, and the referee letting the clock run down while holding the ball for the final 5 minutes of play.
Stela Negra were extremely frustrated by the time the offending player, #14, ran out of the MPS backfield and sucker punched a MPS defender in the face, just as MPS’ Jake Edwards was scoring their 8th goal in the 82nd minute. The player, whose name was not released, was immediately ejected. The officials spent the next several minutes trying to restore a semblance of order, but ended up being forced to let time run out without resuming play.
MPS opened up the scoring early in the 7th minute, when MPS player/manager Nick Christman found teammate Matt Hoff at the top of the box. Stela Negra were quick to counter, finding the back of the net in the 15th minute with a brilliant header, but Stela forward Kanutu was judged to be offside, erasing the equalizer.
MPS then took over the match with back to back goals from Dan MacGregor and Nick Christman in the 17th and 18th minutes, respectively. MacGregor would again find the back of the net in the 38th minute. Stela Negra found their only goal of the match just before the half ended, with Jibita Sombaros scoring off a corner kick which eluded MPS Keeper Jeff Newman.
Stela Negra’s best chance in the second half came in the 64th minute, with a free kick in the MPS half of the field, but the attempt sailed high over the bar. From that point on, it was all MPS for the remainder of the match. Tyler Macnee opened the onslaught in the 69th minute, and was followed up by goals by Kevin Unger, Nick Christman, and Jake Edwards. Then the mayhem kicked into overdrive.
The Stela players lost all composure as they tried to defend the actions of their teammate, who had just been ejected from the game. The officials did well to let time run out, as it was clear that letting play continue would have resulted in further players being hurt or ejected.
“I expected it to be closer”, said Christman after the game. “We’ve played them in previous years and they’ve always played us tough.”
MPS may find a more challenging opponent in Eastern Providence Sports, the winner of the other Semi-Final on Saturday. “We played them last year in the Open Cup, and it was 3-3 after regulation, 4-4 after extra time, and went deep into penalties. They’ve got some good players.”
For East Providence, who compete in Massachusetts despite being based in Rhode Island, it was their first Open Cup qualifying win, and their reward is another chance for revenge on MPS. In 2011, they lost in the opening round game in the USASA Region I tournament (their last representing the state of Rhode Island). Last year, they drew 4-4 with MPS, but lost in penalty kicks in Round 1 of the Massachusetts tournament.
2013 Massachusetts Open Cup tournament schedule
First Round [+] Recap
Battery Park Gunners 2:1 Mass United FC
Boston Olympiakos 0:6 Mass Premier Soccer
Middlesex FC 1:6 East Providence Sports
Strela Negra (BYE)
Battery Park Gunners 3:4 East Providence Sports [+] Recap
Mass Premier Soccer 8:1 Strela Negra
Final (Date/Time TBA)
Mass Premier Soccer vs. East Providence Sports
Recent Massachusetts Open Cup champions
2012: Battery Park Gunners
2011: Mass Premier Soccer
2010: Emigrantes Das Ilhas
2009: Emigrantes Das Ilhas*
2008: Boston Olympiakos*
2007: Lowell Revolution
2006: Green Briar Rebels
2005: Green Briar Rebels
2004: Boston Olympiakos
2003: Green Briar Rebels
2002: Hellas United
*Qualified for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup