New England Soccer Today

PDL: Pioneers Beat Flames in Home Opener

Photo credit: David Henry/

The Western Mass Pioneers opened their home slate with a 2-0 win over the Westchester Flames on Sunday at Lusitano Stadium in Ludlow, Mass.

Carlos Ruiz opened the account in the 16th minute while Alex Wrona added an insurance goal in the 85th minute.

Ben Martinez collected four saves to record the clean sheet, the second in three days for the Pioneers following Friday’s 2-0 win over AC Connecticut.

“I thought we played better Friday against Connecticut, but a win is a win,” Pioneers coach Federico Molinari said after the match. “Every game is important. We have to be ready for GPS Portland Phoenix at Lusitano Stadium on Friday.”

The Pioneers took charge early on after a handball was called inside the Flames’ box, and a penalty was awarded to the hosts. Moments later, Ruiz slotted it home from the spot.

Though Westchester, who was outshot 6-8 by Western Mass, was able to stay within striking distance for much of the match, the Pioneers effectively put it away with full time looming.

On a free kick just outside the right corner of the box, Wrona whipped a curling left-footed shot out of the reach of keeper Anthony Castro.

With the win, the Pioneers improved to six points (2-1-0) while the Flames remained winless in their first two (0-2-0).

The Pioneers return to action on Friday when they host GPS Portland Phoenix at Lusitano Stadium. Kickoff is 7:30pm.

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