If you happen to have a copy of Tuesday’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, “Winthrop stuns Gloucester, 1-0,” words the Vikings won’t soon forget.
It’s uncertain when exactly Winthrop last beat Gloucester in a boys soccer match. First-year head coach Pasquale D’Amore said it might be as many as 10 years, but he was certain that it had been a “very, very long time,” 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 night’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 D’Amore, who absorbed a tandem tackle by a pair of Fishermen and got the ball to Gagin.
“In the first half, we really held our ground,” Coach Amore said. “In the second half, they came back and really attacked us.”
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 “lock” formation, which stresses defense, defense, defense. To bolster the back line, D’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.
“When the referee finally whistled [signaling the end of the game], our guys screamed like they had just won the World Cup,” D’Amore said. “They were so happy, and I was happy for them.”
Winthrop was scheduled to play at Marblehead on Wednesday before hosting Saugus on Friday.