PHILADELPHIA, Pa. – Brockton, Mass. is known more for its boxing than its soccer, but a team representing the city’s large Cape Verdian community has a chance to put the home of Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler on the US soccer map after qualifying for the US Open Cup for the first time this past weekend.
Brockton FC United took the six-hour road trip to Philadelphia for the win-and-in qualifier Saturday afternoon, denying hosts Philadelphia Lone Star a return trip to the 2022 competition with a convincing 5-0 win at the Bartram High School field in southwest Philly.
The team, consisting mostly of players from one of the largest communities of Cape Verdians in the US, outmatched a Lone Star team with a similar mission in the West African communities of Philadelphia.
“We are motivated to make our community proud,” said Geo Alves, a former D.C. United draft pick who played professionally with the New York Cosmos. “We’re trying to put a team to reach the highest level and this team is close to what we’re looking for. That’s what drives us every day, even in the snow.”
Philly Lone Star was looking for the their third straight qualifying win at the home of Bartram High School athletics after beating Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals 9-2 and a 2-1 win in extra time over Vereinigung Erzgebirge but fell behind conceding twice in the first 33 minutes with a back line that featured several different faces.
“We failed to prepare during the week,” Lone Star head coach Fotoma Turay said. “But congrats to them; they played a great game and were the far better team.”
Walter Varela and Nilton de Andrade combined for the first two goals with Varela scoring the first and DeAndrade the second on easy tap-ins thanks to both players giving up their own shots to find the easy finish. Moacyr Alves started the counter that led to the eventual game-winner when he sent a long diagonal ball de Andrade was able to beat a Lone Star defender to before passing it off to Varela for the finish. Geo Alves started the break on the second goal with a leading pass to Varela, who found de Andrade for the close range finish.
“If you see the first two goals, you see us share that ball,” Alves said. “That’s what we do.”
The Philly attack was able to find more chances after halftime pushing forward, but Brockton goalkeeper Benvido Barros did well to deny several of their best chances early in the game with it scoreless and again when Lone Star was trying to chip away at the lead. That included an impressive sequence where he made two saves to secure the clean sheet late.
“That was the key to the game, those saves in the beginning of the game,” head coach Bruno Teixeira said. “We knew if we could keep them from scoring and score early we were gonna get this.”
Geo Alves put the game away with a 74th minute goal and helped put the finishing touches on the win setting up substitute Rube Almeida for the fifth goal in stoppage time. Substitute Rilton Carvalho also got on the score sheet with an 85th minute strike. By then Lone Star had gone down to 10 men on a red card shown to substitute Anthony Allison for a hard foul and dissension.
Brockton was going through their second qualifying campaign for the Open Cup. They came up short in a 1-0 loss to NY Pancyprian Freedoms last November in a game – abandoned because of rain and flooding in the 58th minute – that would’ve qualified them for the 2021 competition, which was canceled because of Covid-19.
“This is for the kids of Brockton,” Teixeria said. “For them to see what’s possible.”
Brockton – 24′ Walter Varela (Nilton de Andrade)
Brockton – 33′ Nilton de Andrade (Walter Varela)
Brockton – 74′ Geo Alves (unassisted)
Brockton – 85′ Rilton Carvalho (unassisted)
Brockton – 90’+1 Ruben Almeida (Geo Alves)
Brockton – Stephan Teixeira (caution) 13′
Philadelphia – Samba Koroma (caution) 18′
Brockton – Manuel Castellon (caution) 28′
Philadelphia – Brian Akom (caution) 60′
Philadelphia – Patrick Singbah (caution) 79′
Philadelphia – Zoncher Dennis (caution) 81′
Philadelphia – Anthony Allison (caution, sent off) 81′
Philadelphia Lone Star: Liam Smith, Dennis Zoncher, Amadou Baba Berthe, Alex Hayes (Patrick Singbah 49′), Brian Akom, Samba Koroma, Thaimu Turay, Abdullah Donzo, Nyakeh Kamara, Hassan Kone (Anthony Allison 66′), Bill Walleekendeh
Brockton FC United: Benvido Barros, Ericksson Moacyr Alves, Kessy Alves, Leandro Alves, Manuel Andrade, Elizandro Cardoso, Manuel Castellon (Ruben Almeida 72′), Rudney Delgado, Stephan Teixeira (Rilton Carvalho 56′), Nilton Teixeira DeAndrade (Kevin De Pina 85′), Walter Varela