The Martha’s Vineyard United Under-16 boys met island rivals Nantucket SC in the South Coast Soccer League (SCSL) semifinals Sunday morning at Veterans Park in Vineyard Haven, and came through with a comfortable 3-0 win.
The hosts dominated a scoreless first half, grabbing the lion’s share of possession and the majority of quality chances on goal. JoJo Bonneau and Dash Christy both had headers saved at the right post, while Emanuel Silva whistled a 20-yarder just wide.
Nantucket, for its part, was content to absorb the Vineyard pressure and look for openings on the counterattack. Twice in the first half the visitors rushed downfield toward the Vineyard goal; twice they shot the ball wide right.
In the second half, United relied on superior speed to repeatedly catch Nantucket players flatfooted on through balls up the middle and short crosses from the flanks. Three times, Vineyard players broke in alone on the Nantucket goal; twice, the ball ended up in the back of the net.
Dash Christy put MVU up 1-0 less than two minutes into the second half by charging up the middle of the pitch, deking the onrushing Nantucket keeper to the left, and calmly kicking the ball into the open net from five yards out.
Ten minutes later, the Vineyard side doubled its lead. Tim Wallis sprinted down the right flank and placed a perfect short cross along the ground to Emanuel Silva, who took the ball in stride and slotted a shot under the keeper’s legs into the bottom left corner of the goal.
Down 2-0, Nantucket refused to quit and put together its best stretch of the match, resulting in two corners and a pair of scoring bids, but JoJo Bonneau sealed the win for MVU by polishing off another breakaway in the final 10 minutes.
With the win, the Vineyard advanced to the SCSL final against Fall River United at Veterans Park on Sunday at 12:15 pm. The teams split the two regular-season meetings, with each winning 2-0 on home turf.
The winner of the SCSL final will earn a berth in the prestigious Massachusetts Tournament of Champions (MTOC), to be played June 22–24 in Lancaster.
Four additional MV United teams will play in the postseason.
The U-13 boys clinched third place and a playoff berth with a 2-0 home win over Taunton last Saturday and a 2-1 win at Nantucket last Sunday. MVU will play No. 2 Fall River in the SCSL semifinals on Saturday, June 16, at 11 am at Mariner Fields in Fairhaven. The two semifinal winners in the boys U-13 age group will both advance to the MTOC.
The U-12 boys will play a semifinal at Mariner on Saturday at 1 pm, with the U-12 final scheduled for 4 pm on the same afternoon.
The Vineyard SCSL Division 2 girls teams travel to Mariner Fields for matches on Sunday. The second place United U-13s play third-place Sandwich in a semifinal match at 11 am, while the U-11s play at 1 pm. The girls championship games will be played at Mariner later the same afternoon. The U-13 final is scheduled for 2:30 pm, followed by the U-11 final at 4 pm.