If you happen to have a copy of Tuesdayâ€™s Gloucester Times, save it for a member of the Winthrop High School boys soccer team. One of the headlines in the sports section reads, â€œWinthrop stuns Gloucester, 1-0,â€ words the Vikings wonâ€™t soon forget.
Itâ€™s uncertain when exactly Winthrop last beat Gloucester in a boys soccer match. First-year head coach Pasquale Dâ€™Amore said it might be as many as 10 years, but he was certain that it had been a â€œvery, very long time,â€ he said.
In recent years, the series has been particularly one-sided, with Gloucester ripping off a series of victories by four or more goals.
Monday nightâ€™s victory was played under the lights at Newell Stadium, where the Fishermen enjoyed a large home crowd advantage. Winthrop, which arrived at 4 p.m. for a 6 p.m. start due to some scheduling confusion, had but a handful of people on hand. The circumstances were ripe for another Gloucester romp.
Not to be.
Roughly midway through the first half, Marco Bove scored off a feed from Kyle Gagin. The play was set in motion by Joseph Dâ€™Amore, who absorbed a tandem tackle by a pair of Fishermen and got the ball to Gagin.
â€œIn the first half, we really held our ground,â€ Coach Amore said. â€œIn the second half, they came back and really attacked us.â€
As is usually the case in an upset victory, the winning goalie loomed large. In this case, the star was Erik Mendoza, who made a handful of clutch saves in the second half to preserve the victory.
To protect the lead, Winthrop went into its â€œlockâ€ formation, which stresses defense, defense, defense. To bolster the back line, Dâ€™Amore moved Dan Sena from midfield. His play, along with that of Tyler Norris and Chris Batts, was instrumental in keeping a line of defense in front of Mendoza.
â€œWhen the referee finally whistled [signaling the end of the game], our guys screamed like they had just won the World Cup,â€ Dâ€™Amore said. â€œThey were so happy, and I was happy for them.â€
Winthrop was scheduled to play at Marblehead on Wednesday before hosting Saugus on Friday.