EAST PROVIDENCE — Visiting Hope lived up to its nickname, “The Blue Wave,” Friday night, Sept. 6, as the Providence-based outfit used a second half tidal surge to defeat host East Providence in the 2013 Division I boys’ soccer season opener for both sides at Pierce Stadium.
The Wave bowled over the Townies during a roughly 15-minute stretch late in the second half, scoring all three of its goals.
East Providence, the more assertive side offensively just about all evening, failed to capitalize on about a half-dozen very good scoring chances in the first half and though the locals were first on the board in the final 40 minutes, courtesy of an Abdual-Basit Lawal tally, it wasn’t enough to earn the three points.
“I think tonight was a growing experience for the team,” said EPHS head coach Tony Vieira. “I think they learned they have to play 80 minutes, not just 60. They found out it only takes about 10 seconds to score a goal. You fall asleep for a moment and it happens just like that. But I thought we did some really nice things tonight in terms of possession and passing. We played well for the most part. We just kind of ran out of gas at the end.”
The Townies were running on a full tank of fuel in the opening 40 minutes, hitting the crossbar and a post during the first half as they held a significant territorial edge over their opponents.
One chance they didn’t get was a penalty shot, which could have happened had the referee made the call after striker Nick Lopes was knocked down from behind on a potential breakaway by the final Blue Wave defender. Instead, E.P. was awarded a long free kick that did elicit another scoring opportunity, though no goal.
Scoreless to the half, the Townies maintained their advantage to begin the second. In the 55th minute centerback Ethan Gervais, a senior captain along with Lopes, stepped into the attack and sent a knowing through-ball towards Lawal, who did the rest. The senior forward dribbled for a bit then toe-poked a shot through the Hope keeper for the game’s initial tally.
Within seven minutes, however, the Wave had tied the score and taken the lead following some lackadaisical work on the ball by the hosts. In the final quarter hour and with E.P. stretched attempting to find the equalizer, Hope again took advantage of the misshapen Townies to add an insurance goal.
“You could say we played and they scored,” Vieira said, comparing the performance of both teams. “But once they scored that second goal, the momentum completely shifted and we couldn’t get it back.”
East Providence returns to action Wednesday night, Sept. 11, at Pierce Stadium against Chariho at 7 o’clock.