Boston International’s boys’ soccer team can’t catch a break against Madison Park.
In the teams' first meeting since Madison Park won on penalty kicks in the city championship game last fall, Boston International lost to the Cardinals, 2-1, on a goal in the 39th minute of the second half Wednesday afternoon at Madison Park.
“They don’t have the best of luck [against us] but we played them hard and we did the best we can just getting the win,” said freshman forward Zidan Correia, who netted the winning goal. “It would be pretty competitive [if the teams met in the city championship] but I think we would be pretty confident in ourselves because we played a good game.”
Boston International (3-1) scored first when forward Marcos Espinosa put away his own rebound off the goalkeeper in the 34th minute of the first half. Three minutes later, Madison Park senior defender Claudio Teixeira scored off a long throw-in to tie the game, 1-1.
In the 39th minute of the second half, Madison Park senior forward Jairo Ortiz saved the ball from going out of bounds on the baseline to the right of the net before finding Correia for the winner.
Despite the fact that his first name is similar to soccer royalty (France's Zinedine Zidane), Correia said he had never scored a game-winner in the final minute.
“It felt pretty good," he said. "I was excited that I was open and that the ball came to me and I did the best that I could. It’s great. It’s great to score the winning goal.”
Before Ortiz saved the ball from going out of bounds, sophomore forward Mohamed Bare stole the ball from Boston International.
“I saw Mohamed run from behind and I told him to pressure the ball because the defender was not paying attention and someone was running right behind him,” Ortiz said. “As soon as Mohamed took the ball, I took the ball and I waited for the defense to get close to me and I saw one of my players come back and that was our chance so I passed him the ball.
“It was pretty good, I was happy because I missed a lot of goals.”
There is no love lost between these two squads. Besides the down-to-the wire finishes in the last two contests, they got into a fight during the regular season last year. But the coaches made sure calmer heads prevailed during and after Wednesday's game.
“That’s what I told the kids before the game: ‘Whatever happened last year, leave it behind, go on the field and play hard,' " Madison Park coach Joao Gomes said. “We had a lot of chances and we kept trying. We kept putting the pressure on them and I knew the defense would come through."
At the start of the second half, Madison Park missed several good chances. First, Ortiz headed the ball to himself in the box but missed the shot. Then he bicycle-kicked it to Dasilva Cristino, who missed.
Finally, Teixeira hit a shot that clanged off the post.
“Some of those I thought would go in, but again they did play a solid defense and we just kept putting the pressure on them,” Gomes said. “We were lucky to get one on them in the last second. I think it builds a lot of confidence and momentum, especially with the young players.”
Boston International coach Miguel Cura felt his team controlled possession for most of the game.
“I think we proved today that we are the better team, but we just took a loss,” he said. “But I am extremely proud of my team. We not only played a fantastic soccer game but we also played a very fair game. I am very proud of the way my team performed.”
Cura was happy to see a collegial game.
“We tried to keep it that way,” he said. “Certainly there were some provocations but we don’t take provocations. We talked throughout the week about what it means to be the better man, what the better man looks like. We were provoked but we didn’t react and I’m extremely proud of that.
“Sometimes you don' t take the man you need to take on defense and that makes the whole calibration of the defense go south. That’s what it is.
"They are a really good team, they play good soccer. You can’t let them have any chances. When you let them have chances, you pay for that.”
The teams don’t meet again in the regular season, and if they see each other in the city championships, Madison Park will be going for its fourth straight title.
“Hopefully we don’t see them in the finals,” Ortiz said. “That would be three years in a row.”
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