Pioneers Tie Phantoms 2-2

W. Mass Tied for First Place

Western Massachusetts weather forecasters predicted thunder storms and even issued a tornado watch on Friday night, but thankfully these conditions did not occur.  The Pioneers, now unbeaten for seven games and tied for first, hosted third place Seacoast United Phantoms in a critical game at the end of the 2016 season in a rain soaked first half that ended in a 2-2 tie.

The action packed first half started with two near Pioneers misses in the first ten minutes, with Alex Hastings just going wide and Kyle Tomas’ shot ricocheting off the crossbar. But the Phantoms would strike first with a rebound that could partially be due to the wet slippery ball that the goalkeeper couldn’t hold onto.  Western Mass defender Ben Lamb then scored a nice header off of a Maxi Viera corner kick in the 23’, and about ten minutes after that Seacoast scored to go up 2-1 into the half. 

The rain stopped at the start of the second half. Looking up, fans could see that Lusitano Stadium was right on the line of dark storm clouds and sunshine.  The Pioneers attacked the Phantoms’ defense, drawing a penalty in the 63’ which was successfully converted by a calm Carlos Ruiz.  The last twenty minutes of the game saw Seacoast attack incessantly, with Western Mass packing the box with defenders and trying their best to hold onto the tie.  The Phantoms had some chances to go ahead, but the Pioneers held out to gain a point on a 2-2 tie.

“I’m happy with the tie tonight” commented head coach Federico Molinari.  “The Phantoms always battle and we got a point. But now our game Friday versus Westchester is a must win.  They are a hungry team and will do anything to win.  We have to keep our foot on the gas and give our fans a victory.”

The Pioneers play their next two games at home, starting with the Westchester Flames on Friday, July 8, 7:30 PM.  It is Big Y Night, and Pioneers Free Poster Night, where fans can take home a poster of the 2016 team.

Kyle Tomas