On Saturday, Boston City FC kicks off a string of four matches away from home, facing three teams in New York state and one closer to home in Massachusetts, as the Lions look to become road warriors.
The iconic New York Cosmos present the first challenge, with the reigning Atlantic Conference champions hosting Michael Bustamante’s side at 7pm on Saturday having won their opening two matches and also progressed in the U.S. Open Cup in midweek.
The teams have met only once before in New York when current striker Jhonata Batista and coach Michael Bustamante were on target in a 3-2 victory in 2016 over the then-defending NPSL champions, with Homero Morais grabbing the winner.
To B or not to B, that is the question regarding the Cosmos. Officially, Boston City visits New York Cosmos B, the second team of the club made famous by the likes of Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto. But with no first team in action, a NYCB twitter account dormant since March and the Cosmos themselves promoting themselves as the Cosmos, that’s how we’ll promote them too. The B is a necessary evil for New York to compete in the U.S. Open Cup under rules that require continuous participation in an organized league, since the Cosmos have not been active in theory since the demise of the North American Soccer League.
Anyway, Carlos Mendes’s side is building towards the inaugural NPSL Founders Cup season that is due to kick off in the fall and has assembled a professional Cosmos side to take on amateur opponents in the spring. Players with NASL, USL and even MLS and U.S. Men’s National team experience bolster their ranks, along with the captain of the Algerian national team.
On Wednesday afternoon at the obscure kickoff time of 5pm, the Lions face New York Athletic Club at the picturesque setting of Travers Island, New York, hoping to bury the memory of some inconsistent results at the country club.
In 2016, a 0-0 draw of wasted chances was thankfully witnessed by a crowd of only 23 from the row of benches atop the bank that rises from beside the pitch, then in 2017 the first away match of that season saw Kamali Webson and Homero Morais seal an unconvincing 2-0 win, but a win nonetheless. In 2018, the Lions lost 1-0 despite creating a hatful of chances.
Saturday, May 18, sees a return to the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn for the first time since Boston City’s inaugural season, to face the famed Italians. Back in 2016, the Lions used two goalkeepers, but couldn’t find the winning solution in a 5-2 midweek defeat. Midfielder Jadilson Vieira and current boss Michael Bustamante were on target on a tough night in New York.
The road trip concludes on Friday, May 24, with an 8pm kickoff away to the Greater Lowell Rough Diamonds, in a part of Massachusetts that Boston City has only visited once.
Lowell was the scene of one of the most dramatic comebacks in Lions history in 2016, when Valerio Silva equalized in the final minutes while trailing 2-1 and then Gilly De Souza stole a 3-2 victory for playoff-bound Boston City with the last kick of the match.