Pioneers Strike First; Phantoms Draw Even in Home Opener

Saturday, May 7th, 2016

PORTSMOUTH, NH - In the 2016 Premier Development League debut, the Western MA Pioneers and Seacoast United Phantoms battled to a 1-1 draw under the lights at Portsmouth High School on Saturday evening.

Both sides spent the majority of the first half feeling each other out, looking to hold possession and showed patience in looking for attacking opportunities.

PORTSMOUTH, NH - In the 2016 Premier Development League debut, the Western MA Pioneers and Seacoast United Phantoms battled to a 1-1 draw under the lights at Portsmouth High School on Saturday evening.

On a night that felt more like late March/early April than early May at a raw and damp 46 degrees, the visiting Pioneers controlled the pace of the game right from the kickoff.  The opening 15 minutes of the season saw the Phantoms struggling to settle in.

The first real chance for either side came in the 16th minute when a low driven Western MA free kick was bobbled by Seacoast United goalkeeper Andrew Pesci, and the rebound then cleared away by defender AJ Dubois.

Both sides spent the majority of the first half feeling each other out, looking to hold possession and showed patience in looking for attacking opportunities.  The score remained 0-0 at the half.

The Pioneers would strike first, when Chris Roswess received a ball from the right flank and headed ball high off the left post to beat Pesci in the 55th minute.

The Phantoms found the equalizer 20 minutes later, when striker Alencar Junior received a pass from midfielder Alex Ryan and beat the Pioneer defender down the left hand side.  At a very difficult angle, Junior’s shot from the end line ricocheted off the far post to even the score at 1-1 against his former club.

Inside 7 minutes remaining on the clock, Junior neary found the game winner with a little help from the weather conditions as he broke free again and blasted a shot high on Pioneers goalkeeper Nick Zucco.  The ball slipped through Zucco’s fingertips and skimmed off the crossbar.

Each team came away with a point from tonight’s match as they begin the season. The Pioneers have a full week to regroup before traveling to NY to face the Long Island Rough Riders on Saturday, May 14th.  The Phantoms’ focus turns to their US Open Cup first round match vs. Southie FC on Wednesday, May 11th (8pm, Revere MA) before their next PDL game vs. FC Boston next Saturday.

About the Seacoast United Phantoms
The Seacoast United Phantoms compete in the Premier Development League (PDL), with a roster consisting of collegiate, post-collegiate, and international players looking to further their development during the summer months.  For more on the Seacoast United Phantoms teams, please visit www.seacoastunited.com/phantoms.