New England Soccer Today

PDL: Phoenix Holds On, Beats Pioneers

Photo credit: David Henry/

Photo credit: David Henry/

Nicolas Pascual-Leone scored late, but it wasn’t enough as the Western Mass Pioneers fell 2-1 to GPS Portland Phoenix on Friday at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass.

Pascual-Leone, who entered the match in the 72nd minute, tallied in the 88th minute after Portland built a two-goal lead on strikes from Nicholas Melville and Thomas Fouhy in the 25th and 50th minutes, respectively.

Friday’s victory was the first of the season for the Phoenix, who dropped their season-opener to Seacoast United last weekend. The loss for the Pioneers delayed coach Dennis Gomes’ first win at the helm.

“We need to recoup from this loss at get ready for AC Connecticut this Friday at home,” Gomes told the media after the match. “It is critical to get points when playing at Lusitano Stadium. We have to be aggressive and set the pace of play, keep possession, and trust each other on the field.”

Portland opened the account midway through the half when Melville converted from the spot after a teammate was taken down just inside the edge the 18. The Phoenix added to their lead minutes after the break when Fouhy blasted a shot from distance that settled into the back of the net.

Despite the deficit, the Pioneers refused to go down without a fight. Pascual-Leone caught the Phoenix defense flat-footed and speared though before putting one past Matthew Williams in the dying minutes.

The Pioneers return to action at 7:30pm on Friday, May 29 when they host AC Connecticut at Lusitano Stadium. The Phoenix will be back on the pitch at 6:00pm on Saturday, May 30 when they welcome Real Boston Rams to Deering High School Stadium.

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