Pioneers Drop Game to Revs U23

Get ready to return to league play


By Tim Peterson

Turley Publications Sports Correspondent


LUDLOW—A couple of weeks ago, the New England Revolution U-23 soccer team posted a 3-0 shutout win in a friendly at Seacoast United, who are currently sitting atop the P.D.L.’s Eastern Conference Northeast Division table.


When the Rev’s U-23 squad made their first visit to historic Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow last Saturday night, they walked away with a hard fought 2-1 victory over the Western Mass. Pioneers in another friendly played before a large crowd.


“I thought we competed very well against a very good Revolution U-23 team, who’s been playing and practicing together for a very long time,” said Pioneers head coach Federico Molinari. “We did have a lot of scoring chances, especially during the first half, but we just couldn’t convert them. Everyone who played for us in tonight’s match performed very well.”


The Pioneers, who are sitting in second place in the Division standings with a 3-1-1 overall record, will be playing their next three regular season matches away from the friendly confines of Lusitano Stadium. Their road trip begins with a date with G.P.S. Portland at 4p.m. on Sunday afternoon.


“It’s going to be another very big game for us,” Molinari said. “I’m glad that we have the entire week off before playing that match. It’ll give our players the opportunity to practice and get some rest.”


Next week will be a very busy one for the Pioneers, as they’ll also be playing road matches at F.C. Boston on June 14, and at Westchester on the 17th.


“We do have a busy week coming up, so in order for us to be successful, we’ll need everyone on the team to contribute,” said Pioneers defender Alex Wrona. “We’ve already beaten Portland this season, so they’re probably going to be looking for a little bit of revenge in that match. We just need to continue winning our games in order to make the playoffs this year.”    


The Pioneers, who posted a 2-0 win against G.P.S. Portland two weeks ago, are scheduled to host the C.E. Stars in another friendly at 7:30 on June 21 before facing Seacoast United in another huge Division match-up at the old stadium two nights later.


The Stars are led by Rafinha and Douglas Costa, who play for Bayern Munich and the Brazilian National team. The duo will also be conducting a soccer clinic between 5:15-6:45 for youths between the ages of 8-18. The Costa’s will also be holding a meet and greet from 6:45-7:15.


Three minutes into last Saturday’s home match, the Pioneers took a 1-0 lead following a goal by forward Chae Brangman, which was assisted by midfielder Carlos Ruiz.


Brangman, who’s from Pembroke, Bermuda, is a second-year member of the Pioneers. He’s planning to join the U.R.I. men’s soccer team in the fall. He’s also dreams about playing for a professional soccer team someday.


“I decided to come up here because I thought it would give me a better opportunity to play for a good soccer team,” he said. “I just need to keep working hard every day in order to achieve my goal.”      


Brangman also gave the Pioneers an early 1-0 lead by scoring a goal on a corner kick in last Wednesday night’s match at F.C. Boston, which finished in a 1-1 draw.


“Our game at F.C. Boston the other night was very competitive,” Brangman said. “I also scored the first goal in that game, but unfortunately, they were able to score the game tying goal against us.”


The Pioneers were unable to hold onto the lead in the exhibition match against the Rev’s U-23 squad, who now has a perfect 3-0 record.  


“We came into tonight’s match with a four game unbeaten streak and we were hoping to keep it going,” said Pioneers forward Dan Fabian. “The Rev’s are very organized and they also play at a very fast tempo. It just forced us to play at a higher level and we did get a little bit tired during the second half.”      

The Rev’s U-23 squad tied the match during the 31st minute on a goal by Leandro (Geo) Alves.


During the 53rd minute, Alves was credited with the assist on the go-ahead goal scored by forward Chris Arling.


Western Mass. goalkeeper Ben Martinez, who had posted three consecutive shutouts, made a couple of outstanding saves in the second half, but the home team wasn’t able to score the equalizer on this night.

Edu Zurita