Boston City conceded a penalty in added time to leave with only a point from a 2-2 draw away to the Rhode Island Reds, having clawed their way back from an early deficit and stolen the lead with only six minutes remaining.
The Lions were fortunate to be level at the interval as the hosts missed several clear chances and then rode their luck after the break and Isaac Addai’s second goal looked to have secured victory during a confident spell.
Boston City’s top scorer with four goals this season, Addai has a knack of hitting the target against his former team, with six strikes in three matches. Reds marksman Fabrice Dogbey found the net for the fifth time in two matches with both his side’s goals.
Addai canceled out Dogbey’s fifth minute opener on the stroke of halftime and claimed a 2-1 lead after 84 minutes from the penalty spot. But with the Lions scrapping to hold on, Marcelo Cunha was judged to have brought down Ronaldinho Diniz inside the area and despite furious protests from the visitors, Dogbey rescued a point for the Reds from 12 yards out.
Rhode Island opened confidently with Maxwell Kolombo firing just wide after two minutes, before Dogbey was put clean through and fired through the legs of Jacob Wagmeister for the early advantage.
Homero Morain produced a weak finish in reply after ten minutes and then narrowly failed to get on the end of a Rigoberto Jimenez cross six minutes later and the Lions had to wait until the 27th minute for their best chance of the half. Morais laid the ball off and Addai hit a thunderbolt of a finish that was always rising and cleared the crossbar.
The Reds boasted a tall physical line up that led to diminutive midfielder Santi Cardona being replaced as Wallah Randoph came in to bolster the City attack. Dogbey might have had a second goal but fired across the face of goal after a swift counter-attacking passing move as Boston City lived dangerously.
Morais had the ball in the net, but his effort was ruled out for offside, then with 43 minutes played, Pedro Silva sent a probing pass through to Addai and his deft chip looped in beyond stranded keeper Tony Billeri.
Four minutes after halftime, Kalombo was guilty of a terrible miss, firing into the side netting after Wagmeister had lost his footing when coming to claim a through ball as a result of a poorly taken free kick by Jimenez. Jonathan Latch squared the ball for the home forward, who missed a gaping target when the lead looked certain to return to the Reds.
A minute later Addai produced a similar chip to the finish that provided his first goal, but the ball landed just wide of the post.
The tide turned in Boston’s favor after Diniz was denied by the offside flag and the Lions pressed forward expectantly. Substitute Leonardo Carvalho arrived late to meet an Addai free kick from out near the left corner but could only fire straight at Billeri with 12 minutes to play.
With seven minutes left, Wagmeister punted a long ball from the back, Michael Rincon flicked on, Rafael DeSouza controlled and played a clever ball to Randolph who was sent flying by home keeper Billeri as he came out to halt the danger.
Addai stepped up coolly to the spot to fire a left footed finish into the bottom corner, sending the keeper the wrong way, for a 2-1 lead.
Three points were within reach, but during added time, Cunha was judged to have felled Diniz as he raced through the penalty area and Dogbey tied the clash with virtually the last kick of the match, firing down the middle of the goal as Wagmeister dived to the right.