New England Soccer Today

Eagles Advance in Tenacious Taunton Derby

A host of Taunton Eagles celebrate after Danny Xavier’s 53rd minute goal against Taunton Sports on Sunday.

TAUNTON, Mass. – Taunton Eagles advanced to the LUSA Cup Final after they claimed a 2-0 win (6-1 on aggregate) over Taunton Sports in Sunday’s second leg of the Cup semi-final at Pepe Amaral Field.

With the five-goal aggregate win, Taunton Eagles will face East Providence Sports in the Cup Final on Oct. 14 at Billy Gonsalves Field in Fall River, Mass.

Daniel Xavier opened the scoring in the 53rd minute and Nathan Barbosa padded the lead moments later in the 55th minute to put the series out of reach for the hosts. Sean Gonsalves stopped a pair of first half shots, but was rarely tested in the second half to earn the clean sheet.

Taunton Sports coach Joseph Cordeiro was ejected in the 56th minute for confronting the assistant referee after Barbosa’s goal, which Cordeiro believed was scored from an offside position.

With three goals required to put their opponents on the ropes, Taunton Sports came out flying in the first half. Following a few forays in the final third, Leivinha Miranda sent a cross intended for Nicholas Ferrara. That was until Gonsalves came off his line to intercept the dangerous pass.

Minutes later, Ferrara tried to convert on a Genair DeSousa pass inside the area. But Ferrara’s shot went wide of the post midway through the first half.

The home club’s form began fade after the half hour, as their rivals racked up a few chances of their own.

In the 33rd minute, Michael Galvin saw his quick header stopped point blank by Jordan Verissimo, who was called upon to make a collection of saves as the game progressed.

One of Verissimo’s most impressive stops came in the 49th minute, when Xavier pounced on a ball in the area and looked toward to far post. At the last moment, Verissimo poked his left foot to tip the shot wide.

There was nothing Verissimo could do four minutes later when Xavier returned after beating the defense and chipped it though to open the account.

Before the hosts could contemplate an answer, Taunton Eagles made it a two-goal game when Barbosa slipped into the area and steered it into the net.

As the Eagles celebrated, Cordeiro vehemently appealed to the assistant referee, insisting that Barbosa was offside. After the exchange became heated, the referee dismissed the coach.

With little to no hope of finding the five goals needed to level the terms on aggregate, the best Taunton Sports could manage were a handful of half-chances before the final whistle arrived.

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