PORTSMOUTH, NH - In a match with playoff implications for both sides, the Seacoast United Phantoms and Real Boston Rams ended in a 3-3 draw.
With a Phantoms win, they would secure one of the top two Northeast Division playoff spots and eliminate the Rams. A draw would keep both alive, although with little breathing room for Boston in their remaining 3 games where they face Western Mass and GPS Portland away before wrapping up the season at home vs. AC Connecticut. The Phantoms have one game remaining on Sunday when they host Western Mass Pioneers.
Tonight, the home team was caught early as they were looking to settle in. A turnover on the left side found Rams midfielder Anthony Viteri bombing down the sideline before cutting to the middle and beating Phantoms goalkeeper Dom DiMaggio top far corner in the 6th minute to take the 1-0 lead.
DiMaggio made a few big saves midway through the half to keep Boston from extending the lead, one on a point blank shot as midfielder Mohammed Rashid picked up a loose ball in box.
The Phantoms kept working as a team to pressure the Rams high, and were able to create a few offensive chances. In the 32nd minute Abel Perez ran to space in the middle of the field, receiving a pass from striker Sophiane Tergou. With time & space, Perez tucked the shot into the corner of the net to equalize at 1-1.
Late in the half, quick transition from a Boston set piece found Tergou penetrating on the dribble, slipping the ball wide to midfielder Barry McCabe for finish giving the Phantoms a 2-1 lead entering the break.
Similar to the start of the game, Real Boston would strike early coming out of halftime, as a cross from left to right finds Rashid's head at the back post to tie it 2-2 in the 52nd minute.
Showing their resilience, Viteri would give the visitors the lead once again in the 67th minute beating a diving DiMaggio low to his right, tucking it just inside the post.
As the Phantoms fought back with several attacking opportunities, they drew even once again when defender AJ Dubois' pass up the middle sent striker Terence Carter through to goal in the 76th minute.
With the draw, the Phantoms regain sole possession of first place in the Northeast Division with 26 points and one game remaining. GPS Portland Phoenix is a close second with 25 and has two games remaining on their schedule as they face AC Connecticut on the road this Friday before hosting Real Boston Rams on Sunday, July 12th.
The venue for Sunday's match vs. Western MA Pioneers has changed and will now take place at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH at 1pm.
About 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.