Boston City FC stole a dramatic equalizer and a point on the road from a frustrating performance with a 2-2 draw away to TSF in New Jersey.
The Lions looked to be heading for defeat after conceding two goals during a six-minute spell midway through the second half, but referee Luis Arroyo added what seemed like an exaggerated seven minutes of injury time and Isaac Addai capitalized with a trademark free kick.
The Lions’ top scorer in 2017 sent a dipping dead ball finish over the wall from 28 yards out after Rigoberto Jimenez had been fouled, and the ball squirmed under keeper Santiago Castano for the tying goal. His strike proved to be the last kick of the match.
When Boston City led through a Homero Morais goal after 32 minutes, the visitors’ experience over a clearly young TSF team looked likely to tell, especially after the Lions had controlled possession for much of the half. The goal saw Leandro Ramirez win possession, feed Addai and his short pass was played perfectly into the bottom corner by Morais.
But chances and neat passing were not converted into goals and the hosts responded.
Seventeen-year-old halftime substitute Benjamin Zakowski capitalized on a static moment in the Boston City defense as they appealed for offside and the youngster slammed home an unstoppable finish from 25 yards out with an hour played. TSF had come close to equalizing only three minutes after halftime when Thomas Stickley saw an effort tipped into the cross bar by Colak Balkwell.
Six minutes after TSF had drawn level, keeper Balkwell came rushing out on his debut and pulled down Luis Mendoza inside the penalty area as the midfielder chased a loose ball. The pair had clashed in the first half in a similar incident when Balkwell cleared the danger and accused his opponent of leaving his studs up in the challenge. Cameron Harr tucked away the penalty despite Balkwell guessing right and TSF led 2-1 with little sign of the Lions mounting a comeback.
Boston City’s threats up until that point had consisted mainly of half chances. Marcelo Cunha headed over from a corner in the opening minute, Jimenez lofted the best chance over the bar when set free beyond the offside trap by Gabriel De Souza with 25 minutes played and Addai had seen several speculative efforts land off target. Michael Rincon had posed a regular threat on the right wing, but limped off injured at halftime.
TSF almost made it 3-1 as Teddy Forson flashed a shot across goal from the supply of Zakowski, then the Lions mounted a desperate attempt to draw level.
When Ramirez flicked a header just wide from a floated Morais free kick the chance to grab a point seemed to have gone begging until a generous amount of injury time and the brilliance of Addai salvaged a point.