The first round of the North Division 1 MIAA state soccer tournament on Saturday started with two city teams, East Boston and Brighton. Both were missing four star seniors due to the SATS, making it difficult to predict which team would move on to the quarterfinals.
Despite being shut out 5-0 by Brighton earlier in the season, East Boston came out on top today, 4-0.
“We were missing a lot of seniors and didn’t expect the win,” Jets senior forward Juan Restrepo said. “It was definitely a tough game, but we kept our heads high and came out with a victory.”
Meanwhile Bengals coach Adrian Kawuba did not foresee the loss, but said that it had to do with the absence of some senior players.
“Not having seniors affected us a lot today,” Brighton coach Adrian Kawuba said. “Especially in the back.”
Defense is definitely what the Bengals lacked today, as East Boston scored all four goals in a 20-minute span.
The four goals came as a surprise after the first half went scoreless. The first 10 minutes of the second half started the same way, until Jets sophomore midfielder Bernard Xhullima tucked the ball into the lower left corner.
Xhullima also had an assist to senior forward Marvin Melgar ten minutes later.
With Brighton realizing East Boston was not planning on letting up, the game started to get tense and increasingly physical. Even with the usually indestructible Bengals senior forward Rossel Cacho, the team did not manage to score.
“We lost 5-0 to them last time and I felt like we got mugged,” East Boston coach Lorenzo Di Benedetto said. “This time we opened the field used our speed and maneuvered the ball to secure a win.”
The Bengals didn’t expect the loss and became emotional as the final whistle blew.
“Wins and losses are going to happen, not just in the game but in life,” Kawuba said to console his team. “You’ll lose a lot and win a lot but never regret losses, no one can take away your heart.”
Cacho was disappointed with the final score, but believes he received something better than wins this season.
“We didn’t make it to the finals, but we made a family,” he said. “That’s what’s important.”
East Boston will continue to the quarterfinals to battle Masconomet at 2pm on Tuesday.
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