More Than Just Three Points At Stake In Local Derby
Michael Preston | Fri, Jun 16, 2017 8:55 am

Local derbies are always tense affairs with plenty at stake, and Boston City’s visit to neighboring Rhode Island Reds certainly lives up to that billing.

Only 59 miles separates the two teams, which in North American terms is about as close as it gets to qualifying for being classed as a local derby.

The second-placed Lions head down I-95 knowing their playoff plans will be back on track if a win and three points stems only the second two-match losing run in club history.  The last time Boston City dropped two matches, a nine-match unbeaten streak saw them power into the postseason and it was a 1-0 win in Rhode Island that clinched a playoff berth, while eliminating the Reds.

The fourth-placed hosts are in a similar position this weekend, even though the season is only at the midway point.  Elimination is not a concern, but the Reds currently trail the Lions by four points; a gap they will not want to widen.  Rhode Island does have the comfort of a game in hand, which will be played Friday night at home to Seacoast United Mariners.

The NPSL Atlantic White Division will see three of six teams continue play once all 10 regular season matches are completed.  The top team will enjoy the luxury of a bye, while second hosts third, with the winner then traveling to the rested first-placed team.  Were the season to end today, Boston City (3-2-2) would host Hartford City (3-2-2), with Kingston Stockade (5-1-1) awaiting the winner.

In less than two seasons of facing each other the Lions and Reds have already stablished a strong rivalry, which continues at the Berylson Family Fields at Brown University this Sunday, kickoff 5pm.

The intensity first kicked into gear when a late Darlan Rocha goal earned Boston City an exciting 3-2 victory at home last season on June 26 and the tall forward again claimed the decisive strike in the return match a week later.  This season, the sides played out a 3-3 draw at Malden Catholic High School on May 13 as former Reds star Isaac Nana Addai scored a hat-trick for the Lions.  The offseason signing is now the team’s top scorer with six goals this season and assists leader with five.

“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.  “Most of my old teammates are not going to take it easy on me, so I am expecting a tough challenge.  But I’m in a new family here now and my commitment is only to Boston City.”

The Lions include another former Red in midfielder Camilo Estrada, who has played in the past three matches, while Rhode Island’s squad features attacking midfielder Manuel Fortes, who was released by the Lions earlier this season.

Injuries mean Boston City will be without striker Jhonata Batista, fellow forward Kamali Webson and defender Gabriel De Souza, but midfielder Jadson Leite is available again after a serving a one-match suspension. 

Boston City returns home to Malden Catholic High School at 7pm on Saturday, June 24 for the visit of New York Athletic Club.  Tickets:  The Lions will welcome more than 150 youngsters from Medford Soccer, who will attend as part of the Youth Soccer Partner Program alliance between the two organizations.


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