PORTSMOUTH, NH - Tonight's meeting between the Seacoast United Phantoms and MPS Portland Phoenix was the third meeting between the two clubs this month (fourth of the season). With all three games being decided by one goal, MPS Portland would have the upper hand going into tonight's match, winning two of the last three. However, the Seacoast United Phantoms are quickly gaining confidence after a 1-0 weekend victory over the Phoenix on Saturday.
As expected, the first half started out full throttle by both teams, it was a battle in the midfield with the momentum swaying towards MPS Portland. With the momentum in their favor it was MPS to strike first. In the 12th minute Ryan Griffin cleaned up a sitter in the box. The goal came off of a direct kick which was knocked down by Phantoms goal keeper John Dawson but couldn't be collected. The ball found the foot of Griffen to break the ice.
Four minutes following the goal, midfielder Jason Massie tallied another for MPS. The goal came from the right side of the 18 yard box off of a direct kick which was struck with pace by Massie past the left side of Phantoms keeper John Dawson making it 2-0 MPS. A quick 3 minutes after the second goal it was still all MPS when a cross from the left side found the foot of Joel Thiesson who hit the cross bar, but was cleared away by the Phantoms.
Down early but not giving up, it was midfielder Robbie McLarney who gave the Phantoms a spark going into the second half when he hit a 30 yard laser past MPS goalkeeper Matt Williams, making it 2-1 MPS at the half.
The 2nd half kicked off and the game began to heat up with extremely physical play and an up-tempo pace from both teams looked to make it a very interesting final 45 minutes. MPS continued their same style of play knocking long balls over the top but the back line of Brad Hilton, Jordan Thomas, James Goodwin, and Ryan Dunn were up for the challenge.
In the 68th minute, defender Brad Hilton made a blazing 35 yard run down the right side and served a cross from the flank, finding the head of striker Chris Tsonis who tallied the equalizer. The game was looking to finish as a draw until MPS forward Nick Whiteman hit an absolute rocket from the left side into the upper 90 past Dawson in the 87th minute giving MPS a late lead 3-2.
MPS put the nail in the coffin after a 90th minute header by Aaron Schoenfeld found the back of the net, assist coming from Massie. The final score was 4-2 in favor of MPS.
The Phantoms are back in action on Friday when they travel to Ludlow, MA in another division matchup with the Western Mass Pioneers. Follow the Phantoms online at www.seacoastunited.org/phantoms.