Despite taking a 2-1 lead after 30 minutes, Boca Raton FC playing its first match of 2017 fell to Brazilian Powerhouse São Paulo 9-2 on Sunday morning at IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL, Boca Raton Football Club can hold their heads high as the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) club was able to go toe-to-toe with one of the best Brazil has to offer. The match will go down in club history as one of the most important games to be played as the organization builds for the future.
For the first 30 minutes of the game, Boca Raton FC and São Paulo were evenly matched, with Boca Raton leading the game 2-1 thanks to two phenomenal goals by forward Vinicius Tupan. On both goals Tupan showed outstanding predatory instincts stripping São Paulo’s Breno Borges on the first goal artfully placing the ball in the upper right hand corner of the goal and on the second dispossessing the keeper outside the area and subsequently scoring.
Playing in a new tactical formation (5-4-1), Boca Raton FC set up in a more defensive posture early on and was able to keep the prolific São Paulo attack at bay. The 5-4-1 allowed for strong defensive organization and the ability to break quickly on the counter-attack.
However, 30 minutes into the game São Paulo's professionalism and fitness levels began to show and Boca Raton FC was unable to hold off their attack, falling behind by a 3-2 scoreline at the half. Boca Raton’s starting XI was able to play 45 minutes at a high level against a top Brazilian Serie A side. But this being the first match of the year for Boca Raton FC, a full rotation of players was brought and the second half proved to be different.
Boca Raton rotated the squad by flipping the entire eleven players for the second half, showcasing a team mostly made-up from the Boca Raton High Performance Academy. The youth team got valuable experience playing against such a strong side but conceded six goals in the second half to give the Brazilian side a 9-2 victory.
"Despite the scoreboard this was a win for us as a team and as an organization," said President Douglas Heizer. "This was a huge opportunity for our players to showcase their talent with some of the best players in the world and see where we need to move towards."
Boca Raton FC resumes qualifying for the 2017 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in March and will announce additional friendlies in the near future.
Photo Credit: Marianna Rodriguez