A NPSL Doubleheader

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With 12 goals and 11 yellows cards across two matches, Boston City FC and Hartford City FC began their seasons by facing off in two-straight matches. The first was at the home of Hartford City FC and the second led them to Boston City FC's new grounds.

As the NPSL Northeast Region North Atlantic Conference began on April 27, the Lions of Boston City FC were headed to Hartford. According to their Communications Director Michael Preston, Boston City had seven players making their first team debut in the season opener. Hartford City FC has recently come under the direction of new head coach Nick Balistierri and is playing at a new home field, Yousuf Al-Marzook Field at the University of Hartford.

The excitement in the first match of the season began early as Luke Alvaro scored in the 3rd minute for Hartford and Jhonata Batista scored in the 6th minute for Boston. Both teams scored again the first half on goals by Miguel Carneiro for Hartford and Rigoberto Jimenez for Boston. The game was back and forth for the opening 25 minutes of the second half until Tyler Carlos netted a header off of a free kick to take Hartford up 3-2. As the time was winding down, Jimenez sent a cross to Batista who finished with a header and leveled the score at three in the 81st minute. All five cautions of this match were issued after Batista's second goal.

The back and forth of the first match led to a lot of anticipation from the sides as they shifted venues. The second leg of the opening series took both teams to Boston City's new home: Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere, MA. Both teams we hoping to come out with a win after drawing the previous week, but Hartford came out looking ready almost immediately. Luke Alvaro started off quickly again, this time scoring in the 6th minute, and was followed in the 10th minute by Shaquille Saunchez. The goals just kept coming for Hartford. By halftime, it was 5-0 with Alvaro and Saunchez at two goals and Daniel Jones with one. Each team had two players on a yellow. After Alvaro scored for a third time in the 51st minute, the second half saw Boston City looking tighter defensively as a team. The final score ended up at 6-0.

The doubleheader was a great way to start the season. The excitement that comes with the new season only became greater after the opening draw. Having two matches with the same teams at the start seemed to prolong that joy for an extra week. It would be great to see this again next year with a different set of teams in the North Atlantic.

The matches can be viewed online. For the match in Hartford, visit Hartford City's YouTube channel and for the match at Boston, visit Boston City's website. Both teams will play again this Saturday night. Boston City FC will be on the road to face a strong New York Cosmos B and Hartford City FC is at home as the Brooklyn Italians begin their season in Connecticut.

- Andy Rittenhouse

Thanks to Boston City FC for the photo.