A pair of goals from sophomore forward Jair Gomes and a strong shorthanded defensive performance gave Burke/Dearborn the Boston City League boys’ soccer championship with Saturday’s 3-1 victory over Latin Academy at Carter Field.
Gomes tied the match with just under 26 minutes remaining when he drilled a penalty shot into the bottom left corner of the goal. Just a few minutes later, a foul in the box sent him to the spot again with a chance to give the Bulldogs the lead.
Burke/Dearborn coach Joao Barros faced a decision with both penalty shots. He had upperclassmen who could have taken either one, but he made the decision to stick with Gomes.
“He has been a kid that I am always on, but he is our best player,” Barros said. “I trust that he is confident enough to take those two [penalty kicks] and score without a problem.”
This confidence showed when Gomes returned to the penalty spot and calmly delivered a shot that hit off the crossbar and deflected into the back of the goal, causing an eruption of cheers from the crowd lining the fence of the field.
After the game, Gomes reflected on the preparation for his two clutch goals.
“It means a lot of work,” he said. “I put in a lot of work into practicing.”
The first half of the matchup was a physical defensive battle with limited attacking opportunities. The Dragons opened the scoring in the second half with a penalty by senior midfielder Kostandinos Papajani. After Gomes put away both of his penalty attempts, tempers flared as the Dragons tried to equalize.
A Burke/Dearborn athlete was sent off after receiving a second yellow card minutes before the 20-minute mark of the half, forcing the team to play with 10 for the remainder of the match. Barros said the team remained focused on not losing another player, and senior midfielder Djeison Vieira scored the decisive third goal of the game with about 12 minutes left after dribbling through the Dragons’ defense.