In an ugly game hampered by the oppressive heat, the Western Mass Pioneers edged their USASA opponents from the eastern part of the state, Boston Olympiakos, by a 2-0 scoreline.
The Pioneers played the match with a heavy heart, as head coach Lesznek Wrona returned to his native Poland to attend his mother’s funeral.
Neil Krause opened the scoring for the Pioneers in the 33rd minute, when his shot deflected off an Olympiakos defender and caught goalkeeper Chris Charnecky leaning the wrong way. Boston nearly tied the score just before halftime, when Samuel Appiah’s shot from 15 yards out was blocked by Pioneers netminder Matt Glaeser.
In the second half, Western Mass dodged another bullet, when Geoff Walker’s shot trickled toward the goalline after a save from Glaeser, but James Greenslit beat Boston’s Sherron Manswell to clear the ball.
In the 68th minute, the Pioneers got their insurance goal. Everson Maciel passed up a shot to send the ball to Jeff Deren, who beat Chernacky for a 2-0 lead.
The match was only the second time in the Professional Era (1995-present) that two teams from the state of Massachusetts faced off in the Open Cup. In 2004, Western Mass was upset by the PDL’s Cape Cod Crusaders 3-2 in the Second Round.