Boston City FC’s first away journey of the new NPSL regular season will be the longest, as the Lions make a 470-mile round trip to Wayne, NJ, to take on TSF on Sunday.
The 1pm kickoff at Donnelly Field at DePaul Catholic High School means departing at 5.30am to start a long day not expected to end until after 10pm when the Malden Trans coach bus arrives back home.
Coach Palhinha’s side will be looking to bounce back from an opening day 4-0 defeat to the New York Cosmos and welcome back last season’s captain and NPSL All-Team selection Paulo Henrique to bolster the defense.
While 11 of the traveling 18 players did not visit TSF in 2017, Boston City will aim to avoid a repeat of last season’s meeting in New Jersey when a last-minute strike from distance earned TSF three points from their first-ever NPSL home match in a 2-1 win.
The Lions were without a regular keeper so gave a debut to Alexssandro, and were missing three strikers through injury, which led to tall defender Filipe Dutra starting at forward.
It was Dutra who canceled out a first half goal from Steve Zamudio with ten minutes remaining, after Alexssandro had saved a penalty kick to keep the visitors in contention. But midfielder Luis Mendoza etched his name into TSF folklore when he unleashed a late strike from 40 yards out that somehow dipped just under the crossbar beyond the hands of the outstretched Alexssandro.
The Lions went on to win three more matches, draw one and lose one to claim a NPSL playoff spot by finishing second in the Atlantic White Division with a 6-3-3 record, while TSF finished at 7-3-2 in the Blue Division. Boston City lost the opening conference playoff 2-1 at home to Hartford City, while TSF defeated the Brooklyn Italians 1-0 before falling 2-0 to eventual NPSL champion Elm City Express.