Three Somerville Highlanders Score as Boys’ Soccer Team Handles Lowly Boston Latin

(written, shot and edited for Somerville Patch)

The Somerville Highlanders scored in the first minute of Monday’s game at Dilboy Stadium and never looked back, beating the one-win Boston Latin Wolfpack, 3-0.

The Highlanders surged towards the Wolfpack goal to begin the game, showing off the speed and finesse-passing that has led to eight wins in their first 10 games. The Highlanders capped the drive with a centering pass from sophomore striker Thayrone Miranda to senior Edgardo Perez Vasquez, who buried the ball the in the back of the net. The Highlanders led 1-0 and the game had barely begun.

“We started off really strong,” Somerville coach George Scarpelli said. “I think that we really focused on working the ball to the outside, keeping the ball on the ground. That’s our style of game.”

The goal exemplified the Highlanders’ aggressive play in the early minutes of the game, which led to several shots on net. Miranda fired off a tight-angle shot that Boston Latin keeper Isaac Buck stopped, then midfielder Francisco Fernandes Neto aimed a 20-yarder at the left corner that Buck had to dive to keep out of the net.

Miranda also set up a heading opportunity that went over the Wolfpack goal, then clanged a breakaway shot off the near goalpost. All this happened in the first 10 minutes of play.

Boston Latin coach Jason Miller said Somerville’s goal and early aggressive offense definitely demoralized his team.

“We have a number of guys one the team who, it doesn’t matter what the score is, they’re going to play their absolute hardest,” Miller said. “But unfortunately, we have some players who are still learning how to succeed mentally. They get that goal 45 seconds into the match, and then their heads go down, and their effort drops.”

Though Somerville eased off the throttle through the middle minutes of the half, Boston Latin rarely penetrated deep enough to really test Somerville’s defense.

The Highlanders were awarded a free kick 30 yards from the Boston Latin goal after freshman Marcelo Brociner was tripped. The Highlanders ran a tricky double-fake play, with both Neto and junior Martin Rodriguez successively running up to the ball, then at the last minute lifting their feet over it without touching it. Junior Matheus Augusto Reis then took the kick, drilling the back of the net to put the Highlanders up 2-0 with about 13 minutes left in the half.

“All of our boys have to know how to run that,” Scarpelli said, adding: “Matheus is probably the only one that’s a constant in that play.”

The Highlanders did not score again in the first, but they didn’t have to: Neto’s poise helped the Highlanders control the center of the field. On the rare occasion the Wolfpack actually got through the midfield – Wolfpack coaches said the team got off just six shots all game, as compared with approximately 15 by the Highlanders – speedy center-back Andre Rolim anchored the defense.

“He’s actually been shining like no other,” Scarpelli said. “I think he’s probably one of the better defenders in the state now.”

Somerville went up 3-0 midway through the second half, when junior Lyndon Kaba drew both his defender and the Boston Latin sweeper towards him, freeing up Kenny Pinho 15 yards from the goal. Kaba crossed to Pinho, who shot the ball past Buck in goal before Buck redirected his attention from Kaba.

Junior goalkeeper Manuel Rivera said he felt some jitters in the opening minutes of his first game in goal this season, but “knowing that I had my brothers beside me, and I’m not going to go down alone” helped him feel more confident.

Boston Latin’s only true scoring chance came when both Rivera and a Somerville sweeper went up to clear a high kick that was falling towards the goal. The two players banged heads lightly, and the balled bounced in front of the goal. Luckily for Somerville, Boston Latin’s attempt at the rebound clanged off the crossbar and rolled away.

Despite no goal and no injuries resulting from the play, Rivera took responsibility.

“On my part, I need to yell louder – ‘keep!’ – to allow my players to know that I want to come out and get it,” Rivera said.

With the win, Somerville moved to 8-1-1. Boston Latin fell to 1-9.

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