The Madison Park boys' soccer team went to the semifinals against Somerville on Friday for the first time in eight years. After a 15-3 season and with star senior forward Edmilson Barros back in the game after a two-game hiatus because of a red card in its city league championship win, the Cardinals thought the match would be in its favor.
Although after an intense and often physical game, Madison Park fell to the Highlanders, 5-1.
“They played well,” Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “There were some mistakes and they let up easy goals, especially the third.”
“Somerville knows how to finish and they punish you if you make a mistake.”
While Somerville dominated the scoreboard, it doesn’t reflect the Cardinals' effort.
Both teams showed off great defensive skill in the first half, until Somerville junior striker Thayrone Miranda headed the ball into the net to start off the scoring 30 minutes into the game.
Barros wasn’t ready to let Somerville take the lead though, and sent a successful shot to the high right corner off of a penalty kick.
Junior defender Emike Pires played extraordinarily throughout the entire game, especially at the end of the first half.
The Highlanders drove the ball up the field and Cardinals goalkeeper Joao Rosa came out too far, leaving Somerville with a clear shot.
Pires used his body to defend the goal for an unbelievable save.
Despite Pires's impressive presence in defense, the Highlanders would not settle for a tie to finish the half.
With just under 17 minutes left, senior forward Felix De Bona scored for Somerville to take the lead, ending the first half, 2-1.
The Cardinals stormed the field in the second half, chanting, “Don’t give them anything!”
The energy became increasingly intense and physical.
Although the Cardinals were confident, 15 minutes into the second half, Miranda re-directed a corner kick to De Bona to score.
Down by two, Madison Park, while mostly maintaining possession of the ball, was often called for being offsides.
Within 10 minutes, De Bona and Miranda scored twice more.
It looked like the game wouldn’t end without another goal from the Cardinals, as it had many free kicks on the Highlanders side of the field.
Somerville junior goalkeeper Luis Guerra blocked every shot for the four-goal edge.
“Madison Park is a great team with a lot of talent,” Somerville coach George Scarpelli said. “If you’re not prepared for them at the start, you’re in trouble. They’re a class act and make the city proud.”
Somerville will face St. John’s Prep in the Division 1 North final at Manning field in Lynn on Sunday at noon.
Despite the tough loss, Madison Park is the city league champion.
“This season overall has been great,” Barros said. “It’s been eight years since we’ve been to the semifinals which makes me proud. We’re keeping our heads up.”
Coach Gomes also refused to let the loss sour his best season yet.
“This has been one of the best seasons we’ve ever had at Madison Park. Not only for the wins, but for the team chemistry and effort.”
“This has been the farthest run since I’ve been coaching and losing to Somerville is nothing to be embarrassed about.”
While the Cardinals will be losing many seniors including Barros next year, all of them plan on showing their support for their alma mater.
“My entire experience at Madison Park has been excellent,” Barros said. “Even when I’m in college I’ll still come back to visit and support the team.”
“I love Madison. My heart belongs to Madison.”
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