Lansdowne Bhoys celebrate their second national championship within two weeks. (Photo courtesy of USASA Region 1)
By Jay Mwamba
Special to FrontRowSoccer.com
Lansdowne Bhoys demolished Louisiana’s State CD Montague, 5-0, in Pontiac, Mich., Saturday to lift the U.S. Adult Soccer Association’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, Wis., to become the first Irish club to be crowned U.S. Amateur Cup champions, punctuated the Cosmopolitan Soccer League’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,” Bhoys president William McGrory said. “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 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 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,” McGrory said.
The Bhoys maintained their dominance in the second half, spraying passes around.
Inevitably, the second goal 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,” McGrory said.
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 minute] 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 again were 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,” McGrory said. “Again, all 18 players were used and did the club proud.”
Coach Austin Friel was immensely proud of his players and thanked all the board members for their support. Asked what could top this, Friel, with 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 its second unit successfully defended for the second time; a sixth CSL division [regular season] title by the first team, and the Region 1 crowns in the U.S. Amateur Cup and the Werner Fricker Open Cup.