PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School boys’ soccer team dropped points for the first time this season as the Townies settled for a 3-all draw against host Central Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 18, at the Providence Career & Tech Academy field.
East Providence saw its record move to 3-0-1 with seven points in the Division I league table. The Knights went to 1-2-1 with three points.
Nick Lopes scored his fourth goal in as many games for the locals, notching the game’s first tally off a Kevin Santos assist in just the fifth minute. The E.P. forward tandem played two-touch down the field before Lopes finished to give the Townies the quick lead.
E.P. doubled its edge in the 25th minute on Eric Vieira’s free kick from some 30-plus yards out. The Townies maintained their 2-0 edge to intermission.
Ten minutes into the second period the Knights got on the board off a similar free kick, a well-struck shot that beat E.P. keeper Chris Moura. The Townies’ netminder picked up a yellow card for dissent on the play, which would prove key a bit later.
In the 60th minute, Central was awarded a corner kick. On the play, Moura was again carded for dissent, his second yellow equaling a red and an ejection. The Knights took advantage of replacement keeper Paulo Faria, scoring off the corner to level at 2-apiece.
East Providence appeared to have found the winning tally in the 76th minute when Alex DoRego knocked in the rebound of another targeted Vieira free kick. This attempt was on frame, literally, banging off the crossbar to an awaiting DoRego.
The Knights, however, were able to level at the death, scoring in the 80th and final minute. The Townies failed to clear their zone. A long Central through-ball took a high bounce in front of Faria, who was unable to corral the loose ball. A well-positioned Knight was there to head it home to tie the score at 3-all.
“The first half we played the way we did in the first three games. I thought we might win 4-0 or 5-0,” said EPHS head coach Tony Vieira. “But we kind of got away from our system in the second half, lost our focus. We played our worst soccer of the year.”
Because of the two yellows/red, Moura will be unable to play in the Townies’ next contest Thursday night, Sept. 20, at home against Central Falls at Pierce Stadium at 7 o’clock.