Boston City FC upset the NPSL Atlantic Division form book with a deserved 2-0 win over second placed and previously unbeaten Hartford City.
The Lions secured three points for the first time this season, improving to 1-3-1 and keeping alive hopes of an improved run of form that might propel them into the top four places to earn a playoff berth for the third straight season.
Rigoberto Jimenez, playing in his preferred wide position up front, was rewarded for five games of persistence with his first goal of the season to earn the hosts a lead just 58 seconds into the second half.
Last season’s top scorer Isaac Nana Addai settled the rivalry clash with eleven minutes remaining after a nervous spell when the Colts threatened to equalize but suffered from some poor finishing when clear chances were presented in front of goal.
Boston City started a fourth goalkeeper in five matches and to great effect as Jacob Wagmeister came up with some critical saves and deservedly shut out the visitors. The former New York Red Bulls Academy and UConn stopper is the first of nine Boston City keepers to keep a clean sheet on his debut in three seasons. He had started the campaign fourth in line for the number one jersey.
“I just had to stick around and wait for my opportunity,” said Wagmeister. “There were a lot of guys ahead of me. I’ve been playing in lower leagues to stay sharp and my job has taken me out to the west coast, but I’ve been at every practice since I returned and now I’ve taken my chance.”
Boston City looked more like a team pushing for the top of the table in the opening exchanges and just two minutes in Addai thought he had grabbed a dramatic lead. His audacious shot from all of 45 yards away troubled debut Colts keeper Carlton D’Ambrosio, who just managed to keep the ball from the goal line and although the referee signaled a goal initially, his linesman flagged to keep the scores level.
On the quarter-hour mark, Hartford’s top scorer Sebastian Stezewski rifled a shot against the woodwork then six minutes later he swung in a cross from the left that both Luke Alvaro and Andre Morrison failed to reach. Jadson Leite’s intervention was timely as Alvaro waited to pounce with the goal exposed before the hosts again threatened.
An Avner Alves chip forced D’Ambrosio to tip the ball over the cross bar and Gabriel De Souza headed wide from a corner on the way to a 0-0 score at halftime.
Jimenez’s strike sent a home crowd that had witnessed a 6-0 loss six days ago into raptures. Leite’s long-distance free kick was not cleared and fell to the striker, who powered his finish into the exposed net.
Youngster Santi Cardona might have made it 2-0 five minutes later, but his finish lacked power then after a neat exchange inside the penalty area between Addai and Homero Morais, D’Ambrosio came off his line to smother the danger.
Rashawn Dally arrived at pace but failed to connect with Alvaro’s cross and Andrew Geres slashed a wild finish wide with 75 minutes played as Hartford threatened to equalize.
Four minutes later the home nerves were settled as Michael Rincon played a ball down the right behind the defense, Wallah Randolph delivered a pinpoint low cross and Addai applied a decisive finish that doubled the Lions lead.