By Michael Lewis
MAHWAH, N.J. — The N.Y. Pancyprian Freedoms took their first step toward reaching the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament by recording a 2-0 victory over Cosmopolitan Soccer League rival Cedar Stars Academy in the rain Sunday afternoon.
Second-half goals by Adam Himeno and second-half substitute Nicholas Psarras lifted the Pancyprians in the second-round qualifying match at Ramapo College.
The three-time Open Cup champions booked a spot in the third round, set for the weekend of Nov. 23-24. A draw for that round is scheduled to be held at U.S. Soccer House in Chicago Monday.
The Pancyprian Freedoms dominated the opening half hour of the match, but experienced problems to enjoy the fruit of their attacking labors, thanks to a solid performance by goalkeeper Derby Carrillo, who made seven saves in the first half alone. Many were of the garden variety, but he did his job.
They had an opportunity to take to the lead in the eighth minute after James Thristino was fouled in the penalty area. Carrillo, however, was up to the task on the ensuing penalty, diving to his right to deny team captain Andreas Chronis.
The complexion of the game began to change in the 28th minute after Cedar Stars’ Maxi Garcia was red carded for tussling with the Pancyprians’ Jeff Matteo at midfield. Matteo was awarded a yellow card.
For a good portion of the remainder of the half, a revived Cedar Stars side took to the offensive, but could not get off a decent opportunity to make a dent.
At the start of the second half, the Pancyprians regained their rhythm as Chronis made amends for his penalty miss. The left back set up Adam Himeno, who scored from the top of the area for a 1-0.
Psarras, who came on for Gerassimos Magoulas in the 83rd minute, scored on the final kick of the match four minutes into stoppage time to double the score.