Mass United Beat RI Reds, Lift Inaugural Gonsalves Cup

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CRANSTON, R.I. – Renivaldo DaSilva scored twice to lead Mass United FC to a 4-0 win over the Rhode Island Reds in the inaugural Billy Gonsalves Cup on Saturday at Cranston Stadium.

DaSilva opened the account in the 29th minute, and fittingly closed it in the 89th minute. In between DaSilva’s strikes, Marc Djessohu grabbed a goal in the 55th minute while Darko Knezewic scored the Riders’ third goal in the 80th minute.

The win allowed the Riders to become the first side to hoist the Billy Gonsalves Memorial Cup trophy. The trophy is named after the former Fall River Marksmen striker, who was coined “the Babe Ruth of soccer” by journalists during the 1920s and 30s.

Mass United took control of the game early, with DaSilva and Fabio Brito leading the charge. Though Rhode Island managed to hold back their adversaries on a couple of occasions, there was nothing they could do right before the half hour when DaSilva pounded a Romeo Zego corner kick into the back of the net to give the guests a lead they would not relinquish.

The second half saw more of the same from the Riders. In the 48th minute, DaSilva broke free into the box before laying it off for Brito. But Brito’s shot narrowly escaped frame, allowing the hosts to breathe a sigh of relief.

But Mass United wouldn’t miss in the 55th minute. On a scintillating display of dribbling, Djessohu beat no fewer than three defenders and slotted it through to score his side’s second goal.

Rhode Island’s best chance at challenging the Riders came in the 62nd minute when Kaio Goncalves was hauled down inside the area and a penalty was awarded. But Goncalves’ subsequent shot from the spot was denied by Oli Gunnarson at the left post.

Mass United made it a three-goal cushion in the 80th minute when DaSilva fed a ball to Knezewic, who punched it through right on the doorstep.

DaSilva capped the scoring in the 89th minute when he shoved a shot from inside the area past keeper Chris Moura to send the Riders on their way to an emphatic win.

The Reds kick off their regular season slate on May 17 when they host the Brooklyn Italians at Cranston Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7pm. Mass United will field a team in the newly-established ASL, which will kick off its inaugural season in August.

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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