Villasenor’s OT Strike Seals LUSA Cup for E.P.

East Providence Sports claimed its first LUSA Cup championship since 2010 with a 3-2 win over Taunton Eagles on Sunday. (Photo: Brian O’Connell)

FALL RIVER, Mass. – East Providence’s Alonso Villasenor scored five minutes into the first overtime to help his club claim the 2012 LUSA Cup championship in a 3-2 win over Taunton Eagles on Sunday.

Villasenor joined Armando Gomes (60′) and Tristan Lewis (69′) on the scoresheet for East Providence. Taunton Eagles countered with a pair of penalty strikes from Edens Cheily (41′) and Kevin Lazaro (84′).

Both clubs were missing key players, as Kyle Teixeira (East Providence) and Danny Xavier (Taunton Eagles) were unavailable for the contest.

“I’m happy with the whole team’s effort,” East Providence captain Miguel Fortes said after the game. “It’s very satisfying. We let go of the league (title) toward the end of the season, but now we got this win and now we’re looking forward to the Super Cup.”

With the win, East Providence claimed its first LUSA Cup since 2010. They’ll return to action on Sunday, Oct. 21 to face league champion Fall River Sports at Billy Gonsalves Field for Super Cup bragging rights.

East Providence tested Taunton Eagles keeper Sean Gonsalves early, with Gomes and Andres Perdomo putting a pair of shots on frame in the opening minutes. Gonsalves, who made a number of saves in Sunday’s contest, also had to corral an errant clearance that nearly squeezed through in the 7th minute.

The pressure almost netted East Providence a goal in the 28th minute. Jimmy Hernandez volleyed a cross from Lewis that nearly snuck in before a defender nodded it off the line.

Taunton Eagles fought off the advances and counterattacked in five minutes from the half when Cheily ran toward the near post and earned a penalty when he was taken down inside the area. A minute later, he converted from the spot to hand his club the lead.

But Cheily’s squad conceded a penalty in the 60th minute when a Taunton Eagles defender handled a Dave DeMelo pass in the 18. Moments later, Gomes sent it through to level it at one apiece.

It wouldn’t stay level for long. Nine minutes after Gomes’ goal, Villasenor pounded a shot that Gonsalves stopped before the rebound fell to Lewis at the far post. With a clear look, the winger took a touch and scored to grab the lead.

Another foul inside the area allowed Taunton Eagles the opportunity to equalize with full time approaching. Lazaro stepped up and sent past Jimmi Underhill in the 84th minute.

Gomes nearly unknotted the score in the 90th minute when he grabbed a lazy rebound and gave it a go at the near post. But a defender came to the rescue again and cleared it away.

There was nothing a Taunton Eagles defender could do in the 95th minute when a pass from Gomes released Villasenor, who cruised through and buried it for the game-winner.

“We just went about our business,” Fortes said. “Taunton Eagles is an excellent team. I just think we wanted it more than them and it showed on the field for 120 minutes.”

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About Brian O'Connell

Brian O'Connell serves as editor and staff writer at New England Soccer Today. He's also the Revolution beat writer for ESPNBoston.com, and is Officer at Large for the North American Soccer Reporters. He regularly contributes to The Associated Press, and has been featured on MLSSoccer.com & RevsNet.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BrianOConnell21 or contact him via e-mail at BOConnell21@aol.com