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Vermont Green FC Stay in 1st Place Despite Western Mass Pioneers Defeat
The Green are still at the top of the Northeast division
Vermont Green FC headed to Lusitano Stadium with a tough matchup against the Western Mass Pioneers on the docket and left Massachusetts with zero points as they suffered a 1-0 defeat.
The starting XI was quite similar to what was seen last weekend against Black Rock FC. Yaniv Bazini was the lone striker up top for The Green while Felipe D’Agostini was once again on the left flank. Zachary Zengue and Chris Meyers made up the rest of the midfield alongside D’Agostini.
Daniel Pacella and Giorgio Probo served as the holding midfielders while Gabe Threadgold, Nate Jones, Moussa Ndiaye, and Bernardo Prego made up the back line. Nathan Schnur was once again between the sticks for Vermont.
There was a special guest in attendance for both sides as Rhode Island FC head coach Khano Smith attended the match.
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The physical play of the Pioneers proved to be a challenge for the Green as they struggled to create chances in the first 10 minutes of the match. Vermont showed they wouldn’t stand down but also received the first yellow card of the match in the 34th minute after a tackle by Probo.
Vermont’s best scoring chance came late in the first half with D’Agostini rocketing a header towards goal but directly in the direction of the Western Mass goalkeeper. The Pioneers would enter the referee’s book soon after due to Bazini being shoved off the ball.
After 45 minutes, both sides were left without a goal as they continued to measure the temperature of the game. If the Green wanted to secure their spot at the top of the table, they would need some second-half magic.
Bilal Kamal entered the match at half in place of Chris Meyers.
Schnur was tested early in the second half with a Pioneer in alone on goal after a defensive error. The Vermont keeper made a crucial save to keep the game even in the 58th minute.
With the score even, Adam Pfeifer made more changes with Federico Tellez replacing Zengue in the 62nd minute.
Another error in the back almost saw Vermont go down a goal. The Pioneer attacker nearly chipped Schnur but the ball plopped off the crossbar. The Green had a chance of their own with Kamal rocketing a shot towards net in the 72nd minute but the shot flew over goal.
In the 75th minute, Pfeifer made a line change as Probo, Prego, and Bazini left the match in favor of Nacho Lerech, Nathan Messer, and Rodrigo Vaza. Three minutes later the Vermont Green head coach was issued a yellow card.
Then in the 79th minute, the Pioneers broke through with a laser of a shot breezing past Schnur. There was nothing the keeper could do with plenty of pace behind the shot. Even though he let up the goal, it was a quality performance from Schur who added another impressive save in stoppage time.
While Vermont is still at the top of the Northeast division, a win from Seacoast United could see the New Hampshire side claim the top spot in the division.