Just as soon as Bruno Pires returned to Boston International's lineup for its first-round tournament game against Manchester Sunday night, the senior captain was back on the turf clutching the same injured knee that kept him out of last week's loss in the city championship game to Madison Park.
But just before he was carried off the field in the sixth minute of the game at Madison Park, Pires scored the first goal of the Lions’ 3-1 victory in the first round of the Division 3 North tournament.
One moment Pires watched his header hit the back of the net. The next moment he felt a sharp pain as he landed funny on his left knee, the same knee that was kicked during Boston Internationals’ victory against East Boston in the city championship semifinals.
Pires said he wasn't 100 percent going into the game. He wore a knee brace and wasn't sure how long he'd last.
“That’s why I tried to score that goal; just in time,” he said. “I was in the right place at the right time.”
But the pain in his knee was not as painful as watching the rest of Sunday’s game from the sideline. It is unclear if Pires will return for the quarterfinal match against Weston on Tuesday.
“The thing that went through my head when I scored the goal, I thought, ‘My defense will play well so they are not going to score, so maybe my goal will be the [winning] goal of the game,’” he said. “Then when I feel the pain I felt like ‘I’m done for the night.’
“I’m going to do everything to come back to help the team. I’m going to try my best because if we lose one game we go home and it’s going to be my last game so I need to play and give all I have on the field. If I can’t play I trust my teammates. I’m 100 percent sure they are going to win the game on Tuesday.”
Winning on Tuesday will be much easier if junior midfielder Aderito Rodrigues plays as well as he did on Sunday. In Pires’s absence, Rodrigues scored two goals.
His first goal was a header off a corner kick from senior midfielder Stephan Teixeira with four minutes left in the half. Rodrigues dribbled past two defenders in the box before scoring his second goal in the 28th minute of the second half.
“I wasn’t happy when Bruno was out even though he scored a beautiful goal, I don’t want to see him out because he is one of our forwards and captains,” Rodrigues said through the translation of his coach Djon Ramos.
“I had to put in more effort to help the team because Bruno wasn’t there. I had to put in extra effort and work.”
Manchester finally responded with a goal of its own with about six minutes left in the game. Sophomore Jack Parker headed in a long free kick taken from about 35 yards out by sophomore Parker Edington.
Ramos was pleased by how his team responded in its first game after losing to Madison Park, 2-1, on penalty kicks in the city championship last week.
“We lost against Madison, it was very emotional, we bounced back, we got ready,”
Ramos said. “It was a 1-1 game [in regulation], penalties don’t decide who’s better so we bounced back and we were ready for this game.”
Ramos said they will be ready for Weston on Tuesday.
“I like my chances and we’ve been collecting information on them so we have an idea of what kind of team they are,” he said. “So we will be ready for them.”
And Pires, who has scored 24 goals in 10 games this season, said he is confident that his team can win even if he can’t play.
“I trust them, I know they can do anything if I’m not there,” he said. “Next year they are not going to have me so it’s good for them to try the new guys so they can get used to it.”
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
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