EAST PROVIDENCE — Its playoff hopes on the line to start the final week of the regular season, the East Providence High School boys’ soccer team earned a hard fought and much needed victory over visiting Cumberland, 1-0, Monday night, Oct. 23, in a Division I match.
Leonal Frias accounted for the game’s lone goal, an unassisted tally in the 18th minute of the first half. The Townies and keeper Mateo Andrade made the score hold up the rest of the way as the locals improved to 3-9-0 and with 9 points for the year. Andrade posted the clean sheet on 12 saves.
The Clippers, who like East Providence have yet to secure a postseason berth, slipped to 2-7-3 for the fall and also with 9 points. Cumberland keeper Jacob Reed was credited with eight saves.
Teams qualify for the upcoming Division I state tournament by accruing at least 13 points total, three for a win or one for a tie, from their 14 regular season league games.
“I thought tonight was a tale of two halves. The first half we had a lot of the ball, a lot of possession. I thought we had some good chances to put a few more balls in the net, put the game away, but we didn’t,” said EPHS head coach Tony Vieira. “In the second half, I thought we were a little more cautious. We didn’t play as much. We didn’t want to give up that goal. We need the three points. One isn’t going to do. So I thought we were more direct and they had a lot more of the ball. They dominated, but we were able to hold the line and live another day.”
The Townies started the game the aggressors and their work eventually paid off midway through the opening period. Frias controlled a free ball at the 18-yard box, sent a shot toward goal that took a deflection off a Cumberland defender and beat a wrong-footed Reed low to the keeper’s left.
In the second half, East Providence gave up a number of quality chances, especially early. The hosts, however, were fortunate in that none were truly threatening.
The Townies got a scare in the 47th minute when a long Cumberland shot floated towards frame. Focused on the ball and the oncoming attacking Clipper, Andrade got a hand on the ball, but ran head on into the post. He was shaken, but remained in the game after a few minutes of attention by the E.P. physio.
With Cumberland pressing for the equalizer late, the Townies did have some chances to salt away the win. Frias’ attempt at a brace was denied by a diving Reed, the keeper using a strong right hand to knock the shot away in the 58th minute. Tyler Coelho set up the chance with some hard work in the corner, delivering a pass to Frias at the top of the 18.
East Providence's Dan Forsythe was later stymied on two tries at goal. The first was hindered as a Clipper defender had a good hold of his shirt, but the foul was not seen by the official on the far side of the field. The second would have beaten Reed, but the shot rang off the outside of the left post.
In the end, it didn’t matter. East Providence got the win and three points it needed to stay in the playoff chase. The Townies face another must-get points scenario when they travel to East Greenwich Wednesday night, Oct. 25. Kickoff at the EGHS field is 7 p.m. The Avengers entered the week with a 2-9-1 record in league games.
“I think all together we played pretty well. We stepped up, did what we had to do, worked hard and were able to get the win,” said EPHS senior co-captain John Caleb Kauffman. “We’re going to play E.G. next. It’s a beatable team. We gonna work our hardest, do what we need to do, see if we can get a win out of it.”
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