Boston City FC were held to a frustrating 1-1 home draw by the Seacoast United Mariners to see their slim National Premier Soccer League playoff hopes slip away.
Striker Rafael DeSouza celebrated his first start since being called up from the club’s Under 20s BSSL squad with his first goal three minutes before halftime and at the interval the Lions looked likely to build on the lead and claim three valuable points.
But the Mariners had other ideas and deserved their share of the spoils from a resolute second half performance. After 64 minutes, a long through ball caught the home defense flat and Noah Stracqulirsi, who had been denied by a good save seven minutes earlier, saw his initial shot parried but followed the ball into the net for the equalizer.
A first half of few chances saw DeSouza screw a shot just wide of the post on the turn after 13 minutes from the supply of captain Gabriel De Souza, who was operating at right back in place of the suspended Michael Rincon.
Top scorer Isaac Addai saw a shot held at the near post by keeper Christopher Franklin and eight minutes before the interval, Rigoberto Jimenez found himself through beyond the last defender, but his touch was poor and the keeper raced out to deny the chance.
The goal did come, and deservedly so, when Isaac Addai played an intelligent ball outside wide right to Gabriel De Souza and his cross was controlled by Raffi DeSouza, who turned and fired past the reach Franklin and the ball nestled in the bottom corner.
Thomas Urquhart signaled Seacoast’s intention to fight for their first win of the season with a weaving run to create a chance from 20 yards out that flew just wide, early in the second half.
Jacob Wagmeister had to save De Souza’s blushes in the 58th minute as his back pass was picked off by Stracqulirsi, and the keeper dived at full stretch to push the ball around the post with a spectacular save. Seven minutes later Stracqulirsi won that duel and looped in the equalizer.
Seacoast might have won it but for another full stretch Wagmeister save with four minutes to play, while Boston City’s late surge was tame by comparison as Jadson Leite’s low drive flew past the post.