By Jay Mwamba
Lansdowne Bhoys pulled off a brilliant double last weekend, winning both Region 1 finals of the U.S. Amateur Cup and the Werner Fricker Open Cup at the Ukrainian American Sports Center in Horsham, Penn.
The back-to-back victories over Eastern Pennsylvania’s Junior Lone Star, who were downed 3-0 on Saturday night, and Christos FC of Maryland [3-2 penalties], qualified the three-time CSL champions for the Final Four of both United States Amateur Soccer Association-organized competitions.
Both are scheduled for August, with the Fricker semis set for Detroit’s Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac.
Daryl Kavanagh [20th] set the Bhoys on the road to victory in the U.S. Amateur Cup final against Lone Stars, a Philadelphia-based club with Liberian roots. He scored with a blistering shot.
Ovan Oakly extended the lead 15 minutes later, with substitute Ibrahim Diaby icing it from close range. Oakley’s second half strike punctuated a “fantastic” passing sequence involving Lukas Zargas, Skele Sylvester and Karim Russell, said Lansdowne president William McGrory.
The next day in searing heat, the Bhoys faced Christos in the Fricker final. Double national title holders out of Maryland, Christos edged Lansdowne 1-0 in last year’s U.S. Amateur Cup Region 1 final. Coach Austin Friel rotated his side, starting Karim Russell and Ibrahim Diaby.
“The Bhoys began to take control [after] 10 minutes playing some of the best football we have seen all season,” said McGrory.
Kavanagh, Man of the Match against Lone Star, rose to the occasion again by scoring direct from a corner.
Lansdowne bossed the remainder of the half with Oakley, Jean Voltaire, Russell and Kavanagh all testing the Christos goalkeeper. On the other end, Sean Kelly, Tom Warf and Harry Hawkins were again outstanding in defense.
Still, playing their second game in less than 24 hours in the heat took its toll on the Yonkers Irish in the second half.
Christos took command and Mamadou Kansaye leveled on the hour.
“After absorbing about 20 minutes of pressure Friel introduced Zargas, Sylvester, Craig Purcell and Joey Ogoo,” said McGrory. “This allowed the Bhoys to regain a foothold in the game with Ogoo in particular changing the flow.”
Extra time failed to break the impasse and the final went to penalties.
Six-foot-4 goalie Abdoukarim Danso was one of the Lansdowne heroes with two stupendous saves. Harry Hawkins and Paco scored to win it for the three-time CSL giants.
“A massive achievement for the club who will now compete in the national Final Four over two weekends in August!” declared McGrory. “These two cup runs started way back in November and the Bhoys had many tough games on the way to Horsham.
“It would not have been possible without the hard work of our committee: Aiden Corr, Shay Furlong, Paul Doherty, Con McCormack, Colm Morrissey, Cathal Kenny, Seamus McDaid and Ray Leyden — also our coach Austin Friel and a wonderful group of players.”
Lansdowne’s other honors this season include the Manning State Cup, the D’Arpino State Cup successfully defended for the second time by the reserve team and a sixth CSL division [regular season] title by the firsts.
On the final day of all soccer in the CSL this season, Francesco Zanetti’s hat trick earned First Division NYAC the league’s John Kilby Cup 3-0 over New York Greek Americans reserves at the Metropolitan Oval.
NYAC had wins over Inter New York SA [7-0], CPR Reds [2-0] and Stal Mielec reserves [penalties] en route to the final.
The Greeks saw off Hoboken FC [2-1], CPR Whites reserves [2-1] and CD Iberia [5-2].
Metro Div. II Barnstonworth Rovers pulled off an upset in the Harry J. Saunders Cup final, defeating Sporting Astoria ‘B’ from the CSL second tier 3-1 at the Verrazano Sports Complex.
Jorge Espanol opened the scoring against the run of play, a lead that held until the last 20 minutes when Astoria leveled from a penalty after a long spell of pressure. Then the game came to a boil.
Rovers were awarded a free kick outside the 18-yard box that Dave Leboff settled and volleyed back to the middle. There Nelson Retrepo got a foot to the ball and slipped it past the keeper.
“With about five minutes to go, Toby Obi made a fantastic heads up play to jump and block the goalkeeper’s attempted clearance outside the box,” said Rovers coach Tim Hattori. “It bounced back off the keeper and fell to Jorge [Espanol] who was able to slot it home from distance on an empty net to put the game away.”
Dispatched in Rovers’ run to the final were Beyond FC Metro [pens.], BW Gottschee [pens.] and Beyond FC reserves [3-1].
Astoria knocked out City International reserves [3-0], Williamsburg International II [3-2] and Korabi [3-0].
In a first in a league cup final, two teams from the same club met in the Over-30 decider. Newly crowned CSL Over-30 champions Manhattan Celtic Legends completed the double, besting Manhattan Celtic Bhoys 2-1 on Randalls Island.
Brian Mazza and Tal Sheynfeld connected for Legends. Yuri Gajev was the Bhoys marksman.
“It was a well-played final where both teams played some good, high tempo football,” noted Legends’ Emin Avsar. “A special moment for our club as both our Over-30 teams made it to the final.”
Shamrock Legends [4-1], CPR Old Boys [1-0] and Manhattan Kickers Legends [5-0] were all eliminated by Celtic Legends in the competition.
Celtic Bhoys had victories over CPR Grays [5-0], CPR Legends [pens.] and Manhattan Kickers Premier [pens.].