PAWTUCKET — Emerson Barros, who had netted only one goal in his first two seasons of playoff action for Shea High, scored four times on Thursday as the Raiders sped past Portsmouth 5-2 in a Division I quarterfinal round match.
“The one person we knew we had to mark, we didn’t mark,” Portsmouth coach Mike Stinton said after the match ended. “Their speed is the one thing we couldn’t match up with today.”
Barros, one of the state’s leading goal scorers for the past three seasons, opened the scoring nine minutes into the game when he stopped the ball with his back to the goal, turned and booted a hard shot into the left corner of the net for a 1-0 lead.
“That first goal was very important,” Shea coach Pierre Ridore admitted, “because we were very nervous coming into this game. We knew we had our work cut out for us against Portsmouth.”
The Patriots had defeated Shea 2-1 at McKinnon/Alves Complex back in September, then tied the regular season Division I-North champions 1-1 in Portsmouth two weeks ago. Another low-scoring game seemed plausible, based on those two earlier results.
After Barros scored, Portsmouth got on the board when Evan Carnevale headed a corner kick past Shea goalie Julio Garcia, who had no chance on the play in traffic.
“We’re a dangerous team in dead-ball situations and throw-ins,” Stinton said. “I thought we played Shea closer than the final score indicates.”
Portsmouth was awarded 10 corner kicks to just four for Shea and each corner kick brought the Patriots’ front line scorers into position in front of the net, where the Raiders’ back-line defense of Elvys Varela, Richmond Baffour, William Bash and Julio Ramos were kept busy marking their opponents.
The Patriots also threatened on a variety of strong throw-ins from the sideline by co-captain Robbie Wordell.
Portsmouth, however, had no answers for Barros and running mate Joao Cardoso, who created plays in the middle of the field. Cardoso had assisted on Shea’s first goal. He soon sent Barros ahead of the field with a well-placed ball. Barros, easily the fastest player on the field, went in on a breakaway and deftly touched the ball past Portsmouth goalie Ryan Wordell for a 2-1 lead midway through the first half.
With six minutes left in the first half, Shea’s Varela headed a ball away from the Raiders’ net on a Portsmouth corner kick. The ball was advanced quickly to midfield and suddenly here was Barros again, pushing the ball down the right side of the field, racing in for his third goal of the half.
“We made mistakes on each of his first three goals,” Stinton said. “But their speed is what beat us today. They have six opportunities and score four goals. We can’t match that.”
Portsmouth came out strong in the second half and controlled play for the first 15 minutes. Shea goalkeeper Julio Garcia made three strong saves during this sequence, punching one ball away from the net, leaping high to corral another shot above the crowd.
“Their goalie played well,” Stinton admitted.
Shea regained even footing with Portsmouth midway through the second half, taking a few runs into the Patriots’ end, finally converting when Barros broke in alone on Ryan Wordell for the easiest of his four goals with five minutes left in the match. That made it 4-1 and pretty much sealed the victory for Shea.
Shea’s Djony Teixeira added an insurance goal with four minutes left. Portsmouth got on the board a minute later to end the scoring.
“It’s all about the team,” Barros, still only a junior, said while walking to the parking lot with family and friends as darkness settled over the soccer complex. “It’s a great feeling to win a playoff game.”
“Emerson was really focused on the bus coming to the game,” Ridore said. “Usually, he is cracking jokes but today I had to make the jokes to get everyone smiling.”
The Raiders won’t have much time to enjoy this victory. They advance to the semifinals set for 7 p.m. on Monday evening at Cranston Stadium against the winner of Saturday’s Cumberland-Central Falls quarterfinal contest at Macomber Stadium.