BOSTON - Armando Gomes and Kyle Teixeira each bagged a brace as East Providence Sports clinched a U.S. Open Cup state final berth following Saturday’s 4-3 win over Battery Park Gunners at Madison Park High School.
Bobby Linaberry put the Gunners up in the 5th minute, but Gomes replied with his first goal in the 22nd minute. He added his second in the 35th minute before Ben Shuleva leveled it in the 40th minute. Teixeira tallied in the 70th and 80th minutes, while Matt Shea brought one back for Battery Park in the 90th minute.
East Providence goalkeeper Jimmi Underhill made a pair of important saves late to preserve the result.
Saturday’s semifinal win sends East Providence to the Massachusetts state final match, where they were will face the winner of Sunday’s Mass Premier Soccer-Strela Negra semifinal contest. The state final is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 9.
In the opening moments, it hardly looked like East Providence would pull away with the win. Battery Park pressed the issue and tested Underhill right from the first chirp of the whistle.
Only five minutes passed when the Gunners, the best amateur side in the country by virtue of their 2012 National Amateur Cup championship, fired the first shot. Ryan McDaniel sent it inside the area, where Linaberry launched it into the net.
Shortly thereafter, the match undertook on a physical tone. Players from both clubs employed aggressive tackles and shoves to impose and intimidate.
Nevertheless, East Providence mounted a dangerous counterattack midway through the first half. Eddy Lopes played a ball forward to Gomes at the left post, where he tapped it through.
Gomes scribbled his name on the scoresheet again in the 35th minute when he collected the remnants of a Jimmy Hernandez cross. After a moment of defensive confusion, Gomes coolly converted near the six.
The lead would not last before the break. Five minutes from halftime, the Gunners exploited the disheveled defense, which allowed Shuleva to score.
Despite a four-goal first half, the second half remained scoreless for 25 minutes. That streak ended moments after Teixeira sauntered down the left and looked for a teammate in the area. His cross hit the arm of a Gunners’ defender, and the referee pointed to the spot, where Teixeira buried it to reclaim the lead.
The creative winger moved up to forward, just in time to find his second strike. On another counterattack, Gomes sent it over to Teixeira in front of the area. From there, Teixeira raced through and chipped it over Philip Nelson ten minutes from time.
Battery Park made it interesting in the 90th minute when Myles Gerraty gave it to Shea, who cut the deficit to one.
However, East Providence held on for five minutes of stoppage time to secure their spot in the state final.
Battery Park Gunners: Joe Annese, Joe Germanese, Myles Gerraty, Steve Hepburn, Ernest McAlister, Ryan McDaniel, Philip Nelson, Jason Pan, Ben Shuleva, Joe Vitale, Bobby Linberry. SUBSTITUTES: Josiah Marshall, John Orr, Matt Shea
East Providence Sports: Dave DeMelo, Joaquim De Pina, Miguel Fortes, Armando Gomes, Jimmy Hernandez, Tristan Lewis, Eddy Lopes, Andres Perdomo, Anthony Petrarca, Kyle Teixeira, Jimmi Underhill. SUBSTITUTES: Peter Maciel