New England Soccer Today

Derby Day Awaits Boston City, RI Reds

Photo credit: Chris Aduama/aduamaphotography.com

After a wild first-round U.S. Open Cup win at Western Mass, Boston City FC returns to league action Saturday for the first I-95 derby of the season against the Rhode Island Reds.

The Lions’ fitness will be tested from the short turnaround after a physical encounter with Western Mass that ended in penalty kicks. Meanwhile, the Reds could be shaking off some wintertime rust, as Saturday’s showdown will be their first match of the season.

To further complicate matters, the Lions will have to save their weary legs as another midweek U.S. Open Cup fixture is on the schedule when they host the reigning Bay State Soccer League’s GPS Omens. GPS Omens upset PDL side GPX Portland Phoenix on Wednesday 2-0.

With the upcoming second round match in Boston City’s first-ever U.S. Open Cup appearance, the Lions will have some challenging lineup decisions over the next week. However, Boston City isn’t looking past their rival to the south.

“Local derbies are always special matches, wherever they are played in the world,” said Boston City coach Palhinha. “Players feed off the intensity of the crowd and the supporters want the win that little bit more, so that creates a great atmosphere. Rhode Island will again be a tough opponent and we’re looking forward to the match.”

Saturday’s match also marks the first match for Boston City midfielder Nana Addai against his former team. Addai scored 18 goals and won the 2016 Golden Boot and Golden Ball with the Reds, guiding them to a third-place finish in the division.

“It will be nice to see old friends, but football is my focus and after the game, we can be friends but all I will do on the pitch this week, is help us get three points,” said Addai.

Despite Addai’s sensation play last season, the Reds were unable to take a point against Boston City FC in 2016 and will look to break the trend. The Lions won 3-2 in Malden during the early part of the season before claiming a 1-0 victory in Providence, a win that secured Boston City’s playoff spot at the expense of the Reds’ postseason hopes.

After being on the losing side of the recently-established rivalry, Addai now hopes to maintain the Lions’ unbeaten record over the Reds.

“Most of my old teammates have been sending me texts telling me they’re not going to take it easy on me,” Addai said, “so I am expecting a tough challenge.”

Saturday’s kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 pm at Malden Catholic School.

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