Days after the Cardinals beat Acton-Boxborough off a deflection by an opposing player, Madison Park fell in similar fashion, 1-0, to St John’s Prep in double overtime in their Division 1 MIAA semifinal matchup.
“I told them in the beginning it was going to come down to whoever made a mistake,” said Cardinals coach Joao Gomes. “We made a mistake. We left a man in the middle wide open.”
St. John’s junior midfielder Tom Erickson scored at the 3:32 mark in the second overtime to give his Eagles the victory. But according to Cardinals' goalie Joao Rosa, the ball was slightly deflected off one of his Cardinal teammates.
“The ball hit my player on his feet, and it went through,” Rosa said. “I could have got it, but [someone] was in front of me and he blocked my view. It is what it is, you can’t do anything about it.”
Despite some great passing and ball control on both sides, Madison Park and St. John’s entered the overtime in a complete offensive stalemate.
And right off the bat, St. John’s came out firing.
Forty-five seconds into the first overtime, Eagles junior midfielder Paul Magazzu had a scoring opportunity, but was thwarted by a great save from Rosa.
Seconds later, Rosa once again bailed the Cardinals out with a key save. On an ensuing St. John’s corner kick, he bolted out of net to break up a great ball from Sam Swain.
Madison Park survived the first overtime, and actually appeared to snatch momentum away from St. John’s midway through the second.
At the 5:46 mark, forward Bill Tuloe had a breakaway for Madison Park, but pushed the ball wide left. Less than a minute later, midfielder Stephan Dias had a similar breakaway for the Cardinals, but he too missed wide.
"I was trying to place the ball inside so he couldn't stretch for it,” Tuloe said. “But he stretched his legs so far and he just got a touch on it… it’s just all part of the game."
It was minutes after Tuloe’s chance that Erickson ended the Cardinals' season with one swift kick.
“It really is amazing,” Erickson said. “Such a great experience for my team and I. It just feels great to be in the finals again. We all played a really good game, passing and everything. But that goal, I really don’t know where it came from.”
This is Cardinals coach Joao Gomes's last season at Madison Park, who will step down as the team’s coach after a decade because he wants to watch his son play soccer at Chapel Hill Chauncy Hall. He had coached Madison Park to four straight City League championships, and Thursday's game was its only loss of the season.
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