Madison Park's chances for a win on Friday against Lexington looked as grim as the weather. Despite a major setback, Madison Park beat Lexington 1-0 in the first round of the MIAA Division 1 North soccer state tournament.
Star junior midfielder Edmilson Barros was forced to sit out due to the red card he received in the Cardinals’ championship win against Boston International on Thursday.
“I’m so disappointed, I want to play,” Barros said prior to the game. “I hear [Lexington] is good, but I believe in my team.”
The good vibes Barros produced showed on the field. Madison Park challenged Lexington by playing its most aggressive game of the season.
Thirty minutes in and the score at 0-0, both teams upped its game. With speed and aggression, Madison Park freshman forward Bill Tuloe and senior midfielder Patrick Teixeira took shot after shot, but Lexington senior goalkeeper Joey McWeeney blocked all attempts.
With two minutes left in the first half, Madison Park defender Emike Pires shot the ball from the middle of the field. With one touch Tuloe redirected the ball and scored in the upper left corner.
“We weren’t as confident without Edmilson [Barros,]” Teixeira said. “We wanted to win but I didn’t think we would. It’s hard in the tournament, but we’re also underestimated.
“We fought together and got what we wanted.”
Lexington stormed onto the field with determination at the start of the second half, but despite its impressive touch and passing skills, the Minutemen could not trump Madison Park sophomore goalkeeper Joao Rosa.
Lexington senior captain and defender Alan Bartels was disappointed by the loss, but proud of the Minutemen’s season.
“It was a tough, unlucky goal that we couldn’t get back from,” he said. “But this season was better than our previous one, and we look forward to building for next year.”
Depending on the outcome of the match between Methuen and Chelsea, Madison Park will face the winner in the quarterfinal on Tuesday, a match that Madison coach Joao Gomes was not expecting.
“I didn’t look past this game,” he said. “I wanted to take it one game at a time. The boys were challenged and played three consecutive games.
“They came out, responded and I am very proud of them.”
Due to his red card, Barros has to sit out and cheer on his team for one more game, but he’s confident he’ll get to play in the tournament.
“Like I said before,” he said, “I believe in my team.”
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