VFQ: Turning The Tide

Mass United fought back from a goal down at halftime to take a 2-1 win over National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) foes Seacoast United Mariners on Wednesday night at Manning Field in Lynn. The Riders controlled the tempo almost from the outset and were loudly supported by the burgeoning supporter’s group, Tubthump Army. United had several opportunities to take the lead but fell behind shortly before the half when the Mariners’ Nathaniel LaBlanc converted a penalty kick in the 43rd minute. United’s Emiliano Amoroso tied things up six minutes into the second half and in the 73rd minute Marcus Pizzetti gave the Riders the lead and a full three points for the first time since May 26th in Brooklyn.

Seacoast's Michael Bloom gets to this ball just a-head (pun intended) of United's Carlos "Bebeto" Diniz

It didn’t take long for the Riders to grab control of the game but it was in all but the score. United was frustrated time and again as they hunted for the slippery first goal but were denied. It would be the Mariners that struck first, taking the lead on a 43rd minute penalty taken by Nathaniel LaBlanc. Penalties have been the bane of United’s existence this season, having given their opponents a chance from the spot in, if memory serves, four consecutive games.

The second half started with the Riders determined to get on the board, which they did in the 51st minute when Emiliano Amoroso took a feed from Denivaldo DaSilva and chipped it over the keeper. I have to be honest on this one. I missed the goal. I forgot to get more batteries for the camera at halftime and I missed it by a few seconds. BUT, according to Marcus Pizzetti, it was a thing of beauty.

United defender John "J.J." Dumbuya heads a cross away early in the first half.

Amoroso’s goal was the beginning of a stretch of near-constant pressure by the Riders as they fought to take the lead. United would put four shots on target before they could do so in the 73rd minute. The last of those was an incredible, acrobatic shot by Amoroso, who was parallel to the ground when he struck it. The shot was saved out of play for a corner by the Mariners’ Michael Bloom. It was on this set play that United took the lead, but I guarantee it’s not in a way you would normally expect. The corner was taken by Marcus Pizzetti and, while it was not the best corner, it was on target for goal and when Bloom misjudged it and managed to only get a couple fingertips to it, the lead belonged to United.

Two members of the "Tubthump Army", Joe and Joe, watching first half action.

For the next ten-plus minutes a third goal seemed inevitable, with the ball hardly leaving the Mariner end, but United would come up empty. The boys from Maine would not go away quietly and turned the tables on United for the last 10 minutes, including stoppage time. The Mariners created three or four excellent chances, one of which included three different Mariners having a crack at a loose ball in the box, but were unable to tie the match.