Mass United lost its second consecutive National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) game on Wednesday night, dropping a 3-2 decision to Seacoast United Phantoms at Manning Field in Lynn. The Riders fell behind 2-0 in the first four minutes, with both goals coming from set plays, and spent the rest of the first half trying to keep the deficit from getting worse before coming alive in the second.
The scoring was opened by Phantoms forward Kyle Urso in the second minute. It didn’t get any better as the fourth minute brought a second goal from a set play, this one by Trent Roy. As a stunned United squad tried to get it together, Seacoast continued to play extremely well for the remainder of the half.
The second half was a completely different story. United came charging out, implementing Head Coach Jim Antonakas’ adjustments and putting pressure on the Phantoms immediately. This was the United that had played so well in their previous three games. United cut the deficit in half in the 51st minute when forward Marcus Pizzetti got to the left of keeper Travis Worra and placed his shot beautifully just below the cross bar. The pressure continued, becoming even more stifling, until United’s Carlos “Bebeto” Diniz netted the equalizer 7 minutes later.
With more than 30 minutes left I truly thought this was only the beginning for our boys and had visions of a 4 or 5-2 final scoreline. But to their credit Seacoast did not panic. They kept playing the organized defense they had played throughout and were able to withstand the absolute barrage of scoring opportunities United continued to create. I counted at least 10 blocked shots in the second half, with probably half of those coming on shots by Diniz, and one that hit the post after sneaking by Worra.
The missed opportunity that hurt most though was an errant header in the 68th minute. Unmarked in front with most of the net to shoot at, Pizzetti got a little too much of the ball and sent it high and wide. As the 90 minute mark approached Seacoast was able to put together some counter attacks and were rewarded for their patience when a foul in the box by United defender J.J. Dumbuya gave Seacoast a penalty. The kck was taken and converted by James Petruccelli in the 89th minute, giving the visitors an unlikely lead and, a few minutes later, the win.