The first round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament was a mixed bag for New England-based sides on Wednesday.
GPS Portland Phoenix fell in overtime to Lehigh Valley United Sonic 1-0, while the Vermont Voltage dropped a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls U-23s. Western Mass Pioneers emerged as the only winner from Wednesday’s proceedings after taking a 4-1 victory from GPS Massachusetts.
GPS Portland Phoenix 0:1 Lehigh Valley United Sonic
It took two overtimes to separate the Phoenix and Sonic in their first round clash, as Shastri Spencer struck in the 115th minute to seal a 1-0 win for the guests at Deering High School in Portland, Me.
Spencer scored when he grabbed a pass from George Tsirukis and lifted it over GPS keeper Lee Johnston before it crashed into the back of the net.
The Sonic took the initiative early and often, testing Johnston with a series of shots. But Johnston and the GPS defense kept Lehigh Valley at bay through 90 minutes. Portland’s best opportunity to score came from a free kick in the 45th minute that cleared the crossbar.
New York Red Bulls 2:1 Vermont Voltage
The Red Bulls U-23s grabbed an early lead and never looked back in a 2-1 win over the Voltage at Red Bull Training Facility on Whippany, N.J.
The hosts found goals from Scott Thomsen (18’) and Kendan Anderson (35’) to stake a two-goal lead going into halftime. The guests brought one back from Adrian Saldana (68’), but that was the closest they would come to overtaking their Red Bulls.
New England Soccer Hall of Famer Bo Vuckovic went 76 minutes at left back for Vermont, who’ll start their PDL schedule on May 24 when they host the Azul.
Western Mass Pioneers 4:1 GPS Massachusetts
A slow start gave way to a strong finish for the Pioneers, as Will Daniels and Alencar Junior both bagged a brace en route to a 4-1 win over the newly-christened GPS Massachusetts (ne’ Mass Premier Soccer).
Santi Bedoya opened the account in the 11th minute to give the guests a one-goal lead at the break. But the hosts returned fire in the second half, with Daniels scoring in the 70th and 86th minutes, while Junior struck in the 75th and 76th minutes.
With the win, the Pioneers will travel to western New York to face the Rochester Rhinos for a Second Round clash at Sahlen’s Stadium on May 14. Kickoff is set for 7:35pm.