United Hammers Valeo

Newton, MAMass United moved a step closer to representing Massachusetts in US Open Cup regional qualifying on Sunday night with a strong 4-1 win over Valeo FC in Newton. The win puts United in the state final against Mass Premier Soccer (MPS), who defeated Southie FC 6-2 earlier in the day. United has faced MPS in either the National Amateur Cup or US Open Cup (or both) every season since 2011, including a 3-1 win over MPS in Amateur Cup play this year on November 3rd. The final will be played on November 24th at 2pm at Roberto Clemente Field in Boston.

United started strong against Valeo and didn’t look back after taking the lead on a beautiful shot by Alencar “Junior” Ventura in the 7th minute. By the fifteen minute mark the Riders had a 3-goal lead and a firm hold on the outcome. United extended the lead given to them by Ventura only moments later after a corner taken by Eric Moreno Jr. found the head of midfielder Jonathan Macias in the box. Valeo nearly pulled to within one in the 12th minute with a post-rattling shot but the momentum would continue to favor Untied three minutes later when a penalty was awarded and capitalized on by Ventura, his second on the day. Valeo began to show signs of life as the half hour mark approached, and would find the back of the net in the 40th minute, but the half clearly belonged to United.

United would find themselves on the defensive for much of the second half, as might be expected, but would tally the only goal of the frame in the 53rd minute. Roman Ducotterd, who had tried to catch the keeper napping from distance early in the half, found the net with a bender from far to the keeper’s right, who seemed to be expecting a cross, not a shot. As the half progressed Valeo would maintain the lion’s share of possession and had several chances to cut into the lead but were stopped by United defenders (Kareem Smith and Manuel Lima in the middle, with Babacar Ndour and Alex Alvarez on the outside), keeper Reynato Barbosa Paiva, or on a couple occasions, the woodwork. United is now in the state finals for both the Open Cup and the National Amateur Cup, both to be played this month before Thanksgiving.