New York Pancyprian Freedoms 2015 Team Photo
With a rich history in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms go into the 103rd edition of the tournament hoping to add to it, starting out tomorrow by hosting the USL PDL’s New York Red Bulls U23s (7:30 p.m., Belson Stadium, Jamaica, NY).
Representing the Cosmopolitan Soccer League in this year’s competition, the Astoria-based neighborhood club has won the crown three times, in 1979, 1980, and 1982. They have also had recent success winning the USASA equivalent of the competition in 2008, 2010, and 2011. Given their experience in the tournament, look out for this Helenic underdog as a potential upset.
Though the Red Bulls bring a big name to the tournament, the Freedoms will look for their strong following and supporters to keep provide a difficult environment for their opponents.
In addition to packing their home ground at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John’s University, the Pancyprian-Freedoms will look to strong team play in order to advance to the next round.
“We rely on team play rather than on individuals,” said Freedoms’ team manager George Halkadis. “We have vast experienced players, the majority of which have played NCAA Division I soccer, many of which have gone on to play overseas, in the MLS, and the NASL.”
USASA teams have had recent success in the U.S. Open Cup. Chula Vista FC advanced to the third round before being bested by USL’s Sacramento City FC, and PSA Elite advanced to the fourth round of the tournament before losing to the LA Galaxy.
The Pancyprian-Freedoms will look to their favorable draw with the hopes of being the amateur team to advance furthest in the tournament. They play the winner of NPSL’s Clarkstown SC Eagles and PDL’s Jersey Express, dodging a USL opponent in the second round.
“I see the bracket draw as favorable,” Halkadis said. “We have a very good chance of getting to the third round. Being the last amateur club in the competition is [probable]. We’ll be more than satisfied if we get to that point.”