Lansdowne Bhoys demolished Louisiana’s State CD Montague 5-0 in Pontiac, Michigan, last Saturday to lift the USASA’s Werner Fricker Cup and complete a rare national cup double. The victory, two weeks after the Yonkers side downed six-time national champions Bavaria SC 9-8 on penalties in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to become the first Irish club to be crowned U.S. amateur kings, punctuated the CSL’s domination of U.S. amateur soccer.
“Only two other teams have ever won the national amateur, national open and their state cup in the same year,” noted Bhoys’ president William McGrory. “Now there’s three as Lansdowne join the elite group. [The] Bhoys are now the undisputed best amateur soccer team in the USA. This is a marvelous achievement for the team and took an enormous amount of work on and off the field. Thanks to the board, players and coach Austin Friel.”
In addition to the Fricker and U.S. amateur titles, Lansdowne also hold the Dr. Manning Cup contested by New York State amateur clubs.
The Bhoys began their conquest of the Fricker Cup with a 3-0 mauling of Sporting Michigan at the cavernous Ultimate Soccer Arena last Friday.
It took them 20 minutes to find their feet in the “strange indoor setting,” reported McGrory, and once they settled down they began to cause the home team all sorts of problems.
The pace of Ovan Oakley and Skele Sylvester troubled Michigan, while Lukas Zargas and Michael Holzer dominated the midfield. Lansdowne broke the ice on the half hour when Oakley banged in a Sylvester cross.
“At the back, once again, Sean Kelly was immense and Daryl Kavanagh dazzled in the hole,” said McGrory.
The Bhoys maintained their dominance in the second half, spraying passes around.
Inevitably, goal number two followed, Zargas rifling in a shot from the edge of the box.
Zargas was involved in the third goal as well. He won a penalty that former Marseille academy player Paco Narvarro blasted into the net.
“Subs Joseph Lopez, John Okafo and Ryese Williams all did well when introduced,” said McGrory.
In the final 24 hours later, Lansdowne faced the Louisiana champs who had several former professionals on their books.
Still, the Bhoys got off to a pacey start, denying CD Montague an opportunity to settle down.
Jean Volitier got the only goal of the first half with a 25th minute header.
Despite more good play from Craig Purcell, Zargas and Holzer, the Bhoys were unable to extend the lead before the interval. On the other end, Lansdowne goalie Kabo was forced to make a stupendous save [35th] to preserve the visitors’ lead.
The floodgates opened on resumption.
“It was pure dominance from the Bhoys and on 50 minutes, Sylvester made it 2-0 from a Kavanagh cross,” said McGrory.
Kelly and Tom Wharf were once again flawless at the back with the former stretching the lead to 3-0 from Zargas’ cross.
The fourth goal came when Kavanagh [65th] chipped home from a Joseph Lopez pass.
Narvarro [77th] then sealed the rout with a brilliant individual effort.
“It could have easily been seven or eight,” remarked McGrory. “Again, all 18 players were used and did the club proud.”
Gaffer Friel was immensely proud of his players and thanked all the board members for their support. Asked what could top this, Friel, a smile on his face, replied: “Doing it twice.”
The USASA Fricker Cup victory officially ends the three-time CSL champions highly successful 2016-2017 season.
Lansdowne’s impressive trophy haul during the campaign include the aforementioned U.S. Amateur Cup and Manning State Cup; the D’Arpino State Cup, which their second unit successfully defended for the second time; a sixth CSL division [regular season] title by the firsts; and both Region 1 crowns in the U.S. Amateur Cup and the Werner Fricker Open Cup.