After Hurricane Sandy postponed the semifinals boys’ soccer city championships originally slated for Monday at White Stadium, Madison Park coach Joao Gomes decided to keep his team on their toes for a few moments.
“Actually that day I played a prank on them,” Gomes recalled. “I told them the game would still be played, it would be indoors, they started to call each other and they were ready to go, you could see the enthusiasm.
“They kept texting me asking when the game was; so it was funny.”
After about three minutes of letting his players think they would have to battle a hurricane to get to their game, Gomes texted his team the truth.
“[I wanted to] keep them loose, keep them thinking about the game keep, them ready to go,” he said.
The little mind game worked as Madison Park stayed fresh during the two-day delay before defeating Brighton, 3-1, in the semifinals.
Madison Park and Boston International — who defeated East Boston, 2-0, in the day’s other semifinal game at Ceylon Field on Wednesday — will meet at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Charlestown High in a rematch of last year’s city championship finals.
A victory would give Madison Park its third straight city title. And Gomes has a strategy for talking to his team about a potential three-peat as well.
“It would be nice [to three-peat] because they’ve been excited all year long at the possibility,” he said. “I tell them ‘One game at a time.’ I won’t address it to them until tomorrow but it would be nice and sweet because these kids have been working hard.”
Nobody worked harder on Wednesday than Madison Park senior midfielder Edmilson Barros, who netted his seventh hat trick against Brighton.
Barros, who joined the Cardinals (12-4, 12-1) last season, scored his first goal at the 11- minute mark of the first half before adding another at the 32-minute mark.
In the second half, he scored in the 54th minute before Brighton (11-4, 11-4) finally got on the board in the 79th minute with a goal from senior forward Rossel Cacho.
“I play hard for my team, every day I do that,” Barros said. “In the finals we just have to play hard, play smart.”
Madison Park senior midfielder Alosio Barbosa got the assist on the first goal.
“The first one I couldn’t miss at all, I was just thinking ‘The finals, finals,’ ” Barros said. “I couldn’t miss and my team counted on me so I had to do it.”
In the other semifinal game, freshman midfielder Aderito Rodrigues and junior midfielder Dario de Pina both scored second-half goals to lift Boston International (15-2, 14-2) to the city championship game.
Rodrigues scored with 20 minutes left in the game against East Boston (11-4-1, 9-3-1) and De Pina scored 10 minutes later.
In the only other meeting between Boston International and Madison Park, the Cardinals beat the Lions, 3-0.
But first-year Boston International coach Djon Romos said it was a chippy game that wasn’t managed well by the referees.
“It was a very emotional game,” Ramos said of the first meeting with Madison Park. “I think we didn’t play well, we let the emotion take care of us … so we’re trying to get ready for tomorrow.”
Ramos said he has a plan to stop Madison’s studs, Barros and Barbosa, but, naturally, he declined to share his game plan.
“I’ve been thinking about it, I think I have a receipt for that we’re going to do,” Ramos said. “We’re going to try that in the first half and if it works great and if not we’re going to come out in the second half and try to have a good game.
“Madison is always a great team and our school is very small compared to Madison, which is 12 or 1,300 students and we only have 300 students so their pool [of players] is a lot bigger. They have talented players, we have talented players. It is going to be in an interesting match. I hope both sides set the emotion of last game aside and it is going to be a good game.”
If nothing else, there’s no doubt that Barros will be mentally ready to play for another championship.
“I was ready too on Monday but Hurricane Sandy came by and stopped the game for a little bit,” Barros said. “So we had to get our minds off Monday and put our minds on Wednesday’s game.”
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