LOWELL, Mass. – Despite showing early promise, NPSL newcomer Greater Lowell United FC ultimately succumbed to a superior Brooklyn Italian side that handed them an 8-0 loss at Cawley Memorial Stadium on Saturday.
Greater Lowell, who were granted a NPSL franchise last fall, were keen to make a good first impression in front of the home crowd. But co-founder Tim Melican knew the task in front of his club wouldn’t be an easy one.
“(We’re experiencing) growing pains,” said Tim Melican, “and a lot of nerves out there (on the field).”
Coming off of a 3-1 victory against the Seacoast Mariners the week before, the Italians entered Lowell with a cautious mindset, allowing United to take the first shot in the 11th minute when midfielder Yaw Asante gave it a go.
A minute later though, Brooklyn regained possession and quickly filled the home team’s box. It started when defender Ricardo Milano put a header past Lowell goalkeeper Zack Rowell to put the guests in command.
Rowell would then proceed to make a number of dramatic saves soon after the opening goal, keeping Lowell in the game for the bulk of the first half.
Yet, before the half ended, Brooklyn’s Yvener Guerrier managed to lob a rocket into the back of the net the Dragon ‘keeper couldn’t get close to in the 39th minute.
Despite a lively atmosphere at Cawley Memorial Stadium, the Italians quickly made it known at the start of the second half why they were the reigning Atlantic conference champions.
Kareem Joachim, who had earlier been denied a turning-shot in the Lowell box by defender Andrew Mattarazo, capitalized on a defensive lapse in the 50th minute, making it 3-0 Brooklyn.
Six minutes later, Guerrier earned a brace with Joachim providing buildup and service for the fourth goal.
Soon after that, Lowell attempted to fight back, forcing the ball into the visiting team’s side, eventually earning a dangerous free kick in the 63rd minute outside the Brooklyn box, only to have it deflected by the Italians’ wall.
After that, the Brooklyn onslaught continued as the visitor’s gained further control of the ball, adding to their lead with Milano earning his own brace in the 79th minute of play.
Brooklyn’s Sal Barone (82nd), Sean Sepe (85th), and Diego Luniga (90th) then proceeded to add their own contributions to the visiting score, making it 8-0 before the final whistle.
Though Brooklyn controlled most of the game’s flow, the Lowell stands remained optimistic as approximately 200 people, including the city’s mayor, Rodney Elliott, attended the team’s inaugural match.
“It’s overwhelming,” said Greater Lowell co-founder Manny Andrade. “It’s exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. But to see all of our efforts come to fruition, it sends chills up my spine, really.”
Going forward with a 10+ goal differential after playing two games, the Italians will be moving on to U.S. Open Cup action this week as they take on the Premier Development League’s Jersey Express on the Wednesday at Lubetkin Field.
Three days after that, Lowell will pay a visit to Lubetkin Field to face the New York Red Bulls U-23s for their second game of the season.