Boca Raton, FL – On Tuesday night, the Boys in Blue played host to Palm Beach United in what was Boca Raton FC’s last home game of the 2018 NPSL season. Despite a second-half surge to find an equalizer, Boca Raton came up short, falling 3-1.
Palm Beach United started the game on the front foot, enjoying the majority of possession in the early stages of the game. In the 11th minute, Palm Beach opened the scoring, heading home from about eight yards out. Both the cross and the headed effort were well placed, giving Boca Raton goalkeeper Michael Stone little chance to intervene.
After the goal, the Boys in Blue grew into the game and began creating scoring opportunities of their own. Boca Raton’s best chance of the first half came in the 25th minute as Matheus Ayrolla’s shot from inside the six-yard box was blocked by the Palm Beach United goalkeeper.
In the 33rd minute, Alec McKinley was forced off by a sprained ankle and replaced by Austin Lukasik.
Boca Raton FC went into the break trailing 1-0, with Palm Beach’s early goal separating the two sides.
As the teams took the field to kick off the second half, Boca Raton made one substitution, with Alex Norton coming on for Gabriel Diniz.
The Boys in Blue started the second half strongly. In the 48th minute, Giovanni Amoroso placed a low cross near the penalty spot, but a Palm Beach United defender intercepted the cross and cleared it before a Boca Raton attacker could get on the receiving end.
Twelve minutes into the half, Palm Beach United scored a goal against the run of play, increasing their lead to 2-0.
In the 64th minute, coach Rooney made an attacking-minded substitution, with Gabriel Bravo replacing Filip Guhr. Seconds later, center-back Kevin Byrne fired a shot into the bottom right corner of the Palm Beach United goal, bringing Boca Raton FC within one goal of the visitors.
Boca Raton maintained possession for nearly the entirety of the game’s final 25 minutes, vehemently pursuing a second goal.
With 15 minutes remaining, Alec-Michael Petrizzi came on for João Victor.
Boca Raton’s best chance to even the score came in the 77th minute as Austin Lukasik’s shot from 30 yards out flew just inches over the crossbar.
Palm Beach United secured all three points by scoring in the 90th minute to make it 3-1.
After the game, goalscorer Kevin Byrne said, “Scoring a goal always gives the team a lift. After scoring, we began to press them more and won a lot of second balls, keeping the pressure on them. Our coach made some good substitutions, which helped the team to play with more intensity in the second half.”
Head coach Jim Rooney described his view of Boca Raton’s second-half surge: “Our first half was not good enough. In the second half, we made some adjustments and the players came out and played excellently. I think we took the game to them in the second half, but we just need to put a full 90 minutes together.”
On Saturday, Boca Raton FC will travel to Miami Gardens to take on Miami FC in the last game of the NPSL season.