New England Soccer Today

Clash of Commonwealth Clubs on Tap

Commonwealth clubs Boston City FC and the Western Mass Pioneers will meet for the first time in Wednesday’s first round U.S. Open Cup tie at historic Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass at 7:00pm.

The 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup will be the 104th edition of the tournament, but the Lions, who were formed in 2016, will be making their much-anticipated debut in the oldest soccer tournament in the U.S., a match they’ve been looking forward to since the inception of the franchise.

“We said on the day that we formed Boston City FC that we wanted to play in this competition and win,” said Boston City coach Palhinha in a club release. “We are honored to compete in this famous tournament and face a tough test away to a club that has been established for many years and has great home support.”

The Lions are coming off a 2-0 victory at New York Athletic Club last weekend. Despite missing captain Ronaldo Vieira, Jhonata Batista, and Yaw Addow, Boston City comfortably handled New York Athletic Club, getting goals from Kamali Webson and Homero Morais. Batista, Addow, and ex-Western Mass Pioneer Vieira will all be available Wednesday.

The Pioneers will be kicking off their season with Wednesday’s Open Cup fixture. Western Mass ended the 2016 campaign with a 7-3-4 record, finishing second in the PDL’s Northeast Division before losing in the first round of the PDL playoffs.

“It will be a challenge,” Pioneers coach Federico Molinari said in a club release. “Boston City has a very good team and has already played a couple games this season. This will be our first game. Our returning players have to quickly gel with the new players to fight for a win.”

A staple of the regional soccer scene since 1998, Western Mass has plenty of Open Cup experience under their belts. Wednesday’s tie will mark the 10th time the Pioneers have qualified for the tournament. They last qualified in 2015 when they beat GPS Massachusetts in the opening round before suffering a heart-wrenching loss on penalty kicks to Greater Binghamton FC.

The Pioneers are hoping to repeat the success of their 2005 run when they reached the third round, falling to the Chicago Fire at Lusitano Stadium.

In addition to national recognition, a deep run into the tournament can present a financial boost either of Wednesday’s participants, as the lower-level side advancing the furthest earns a $15,000 cash prize.

The winner of the Western Mass-Boston City clash will host the winner of Wednesday’s GPS Portland Phoenix (PDL)-GPS Omens (BSSL) first round match on May 17.

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