Mass Premier Soccer continued its run in the Massachusetts U.S. Open Cup Qualifying Tournament, picking up a 1-0 win against Mass United FC. MPS snuck a goal in on a free kick by Nick Figueiredo late in the game.
The Battery Park Gunners defeated Boston Olympiakos 2-0 in the other semifinal to punch their own ticket to the championship game.
MPS had the lion’s share of the chances in the first half, but could not find the net, as MUFC keeper Steven Liechti was able to handle the shots that were on target. After a very sluggish start, United finally picked up some steam on the counterattack, but were equally as unsuccessful with scoring chances. Possession and chances were more even in the second half, as Untied switched to a 4-4-1-1 formation, and Premier kept firing away. MPS caught a huge break around the 85th minute, when MUFC midfielder Christopher Sharpe was sent off for a hard challenge on Figueiredo in front of the box. Figueiredo took the kick himself, and sent it past Liechti to finally break through. Short on time and short a man, United was unable to mount any serious challenge to equalize, leaving MPS the victors.
The other semifinal featured a pair of champions as the Battery Park Gunners from the Bay State Soccer League (BSSL) and Boston Olympiakos from the Massachusetts State Soccer League (MSSL) squared off. The difference in the game was a pair of first half goals by Joe Annese and Jesse Milling. The first came in the 26th minute when the Olympiakos goalkeeper, Renato Paivo Barbosa, picked up a back pass from one of his teammates, giving the Gunners an indirect kick from about eight yards out. Ben Shuleva touched the ball to Annese, who found a gap in the wall, and put Battery Park up, 1-0.
Just two minutes later, the Gunners added a second when Mark Parshley attacked from the right wing and found the head of Milling who nodded it into the back of the net to double the lead.
Battery Park, one of the top defensive teams in the BSSL (allowed 10 goals in their last 21 matches in all competitions), had to hold off the pressure put on by Boston as they tried to get back in the game. In the 40th minute, Denivaldo Da Silva connected on a bicycle kick which rattled off the post. In the 75th minute, the Gunners watched another Olympiakos shot strike the post, but their defense, led by goalkeeper Phil Nelson, kept the clean sheet and emerged victorious, 2-0. The two teams will meet again, in the Massachusetts Amateur Cup final on Sunday, Dec. 18.
MPS will play the Gunners in the Final which will be scheduled at a date to be determined. The two clubs met in the BSSL regular season, where they split the series at a game a piece. The Gunners were victorious in the second game, which clinched the league championship for them in the season finale. The winner of that game will advance to play in the USASA Region I Open Cup Qualifying Tournament, to be held in the Spring of 2012. Both clubs are trying to qualify for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup for the first time.
Battery Park Gunners 2:0 Boston Olympiakos
BPG: Joe Annese (Ben Shuleva) – 26th minute
BPG: Jesse Milling (Mike Parshley) – 28th minute
BPG: Phil Nelson (GK), Joe Annese, Jason Pan, Steve Hepburn, Myles Gerraty, Jesse Milling (James Begen 88th), Ben Shuleva, Greg O’Neil, Mike Parshley, Aaron O’Neal (Bobby Linaberry 60th), Joe Vitale (Kevin Griffith 70th)
BOS: Renato Paiva Barbosa (GK), Queivon Correia, Russell Guidici, Allen Ashenfelter, Thomas Smith, Jessey Fernandez, Baffour Boateng, Geoffrey Walker, Admilson Miranda, Alenca Ventura, Denivaldo Da Silva
Mass Premier Soccer 1:0 Mass United FC
MPS: Nick Figueiredo (Unassisted) – 86th minute
MUFC: Steven Liechti; Christopher Sharpe, Daniel Antonio Jr., Adrian Kawuba, Anton DaSilva; Christopher Bedi, Bruno (James Grant 1st), Rafael Santos, Enco Lika (Gerry Munani 2nd), Victor Costa (Austin Reed 2nd); John Bavota
MPS: Jeff Newman; Nick Christman, Matt Cross, Sam Brill (Pumele Maqubela 2nd), Matt Handy; Desmond Mitchell, Harris Smriko, Matt Lemire, Derek Nobrega (Mariano Arrua 2nd); Nick Figueiredo, Matt Hoff