The New York Pancyprian Freedoms and the Brooklyn Italians are back in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after victories in the USASA Region I semifinals. The Freedoms will make their fourth Open Cup appearance in the Professional Era (1995-present), while the Italians, a two-time Open Cup champion, are making their first appearance since they won it all in 1991.
UNITED GERMAN HUNGARIANS (EAST PA) 0:0
NY PANCYPRIAN FREEDOMS (EAST NY)
New York qualifies for the US Open Cup, 3-0 on PKs
Belson Stadium (St. John’s University) – Queens, NY
The New York Pancyprian Freedoms have qualified for the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after winning a penalty kick shootout with Eastern Pennsylvania’s United German Hungarians. The Freedoms qualify for the tournament for the fourth time in the Professional Era, while UGH fell short of returning to the tournament for the first time since 1999.
This matchup featured two teams who have not only both participated regularly in the US Open Cup, but they are no strangers to each other. Their last meeting in Region I qualification was in the 2008 quarterfinals, won by the Freedoms 3-1. Looking a bit further back, they met in the regional finals (also known as the Quarterfinal stage) of the 1993 US Open Cup, which was won 1-0 by UGH. They went on to lose in the Final that year to CD Mexico. Overall, both of these clubs have some successful history in the US Open Cup. The Pancyprian Freedoms won the title in 1980, 1982, and 1983, while UGH has lost in the Final twice (the other coming in 1977 to Maccabee AC from Los Angeles).
United German Hungarians, the only non-New York-based club (they are based in Oakford, Penn., just north of Philadelphia), reached the semifinals by defeating Charm City FC of Maryland 3-1 in the quarterfinals after going down 1-0 at the half. NY Pancyprian Freedoms, however, have had recent success in gaining entry to the Open Cup. They last made the tournament in 2008, losing to Real Maryland 3-2 in extra time. Their road this year went through Phoenix SC (another Eastern PA representative) and notable club Aegean Hawks FC of DC/Virginia, defeating both teams by one goal at home.
In this match, New York went down to 10 men after Stelios Abdreou received his second yellow card in the 43rd minute. Despite the man advantage, UGH was unable to capitalize. In fact, it was New York that nearly stole the match in the final minutes. The Freedoms were awarded a penalty kick in the 89th minute, but UGH goalkeeper Eric Talbot saved the Jeff Matteo spot kick attempt to send the match into extra time. UGH nearly scored a goal in the dying seconds but the referee blew the whistle for the end of regulation as United forward Tim O’Neill was on a breakaway toward the New York goal.
After overtime did not produce a winner the two teams went to a penalty kick shootout where New York would emerge victorious, 3-0. Julio DoSantos, Jeff Matteo and Chris Zisimatos all converted theirs for the Freedoms, while UGH missed one and had three others saved by New York goalkeeper Chad Calderone to send the Freedoms to the Open Cup for the second time in three years.
NYP: Julio DoSantos (GOAL)
NYP: Jeff Matteo (GOAL)
NYP: Joel Gustafsson (SAVED)
NYP: Chris Zisimatos (GOAL)
New York Pancyprian Freedoms: Chad Calderone (GK), Andreas Pafitis, Joel Gustafsson, Chris Zisimatos, Gabe Ortega, Stelios Abdreou, Taso Polydefkis, Jeff Matteo, Matia Damiani, John Koutsounadis, Julio Cesar DoSantos
Subs: Bart Stolarczyk (91st for Pafitis), Peter Antoniades (55th for Polydefkis), Pete Halkidis (104th for Koutsounadis)
United German Hungarians: (1) Eric Talbot (GK), (2) Jason Karasow (Capt), (5) Ryan Tadley, (6) Will Thornton, (7) Blair Carson (8) Jeremy Ortiz, (9) Brian Blesi, (12) Ben Marucci, (13) Tony Rod, (15) Ryan Moseley, (20) Dave Castellanos
Subs: Ptah Myers (50th for Ortiz), Andrew Weyershaeuser (75th for Blesi), Tim O’Neill (46th for Moseley), Brian Bowers (110th for Castellanos)
BROOKLYN ITALIANS (NPSL – NY) 4:0 FENERBAHCE USA (EAST NY)
Park Stadium – Franklin Square, NY
In a bit of unfortunate scheduling, the Brooklyn Italians, came into their Region I semifinal match after playing an NPSL league match the night before. They defeated the Boston Tea Men 3-1 and less than 24 hours later, they were back on the field, playing against fellow Eastern New York club, Fenerbahce USA. The Italians, who date back to 1949 and are long-time members of New York’s famed Cosmopolitan League, entered a team in the NPSL beginning this year and are off to a good start with a 2-0 record.
After a scoreless first half, the Italians made some halftime adjustments and blew out Fenerbahce USA 4-0 to deny the home team their first trip to the US Open Cup. The scoring began in the 55th minute when Paul Nittoli made it 1-0, only to have Semso Nikocevic double the lead five minutes later. In the 72nd minute, Nittoli added a second, while Kevin Beaton made it 4-0 just three minutes later.
“After playing a league match the night before, we came out a little slow,” said Brooklyn head coach Joe Barone. “But we made some adjustments in the second half and we dominated the match.”
Fenerbahce, a new entry this year, fell one game short of becoming the first team to ever reach the US Open Cup without winning a game in qualifying. In the semifinals of state qualification, they lost to NY Greek American Atlas, however, a protest was filed by Fenerbahce. An ineligible player for GAA (Abbe Ibrahim) disqualified them, and Fenerbahce USA was allowed to move on. In the Eastern New York final, they lost to the NY Pancyprian Freedoms. Due to the structure of the Region I tournament this year, 16 teams were included, and Fenerbahce was allowed to participate as one of the state finalists. They then were granted a pass to the quarterfinals because their opponent, the Erie Admirals, dropped out due to a player shortage. Finally, in the quarterfinal stage, they defeated Danbury United (Conn.), but only on penalty kicks after a 4-4 tie.
Brooklyn’s path to the tournament was a little different, but also benefited from a protest. They entered the tournament as the New York representative from the NPSL but began the Region I tournament with a loss to Massachuetts’ Emigrantes Das Ilhas (MA). A protest was filed and they were awarded a forfeit victory because the USASA ruled that they had used an ineligible player. (Emigrantes disputes that ruling and are planning to file a lawsuit against the USASA). With Emigrantes out of the picture, the Italians followed that up with a quarterfinal win over Go Soccer FC (New Jersey) to reach the semifinals.
The Italians have won the tournament twice, winning in 1991, and in 1979 when they were known as the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Brooklyn Italians: Candela, Moncaleano(88th Soli), Vavalle, Dean-Scarlett, Ahoua, Iriarte, Lehto (20th Tramontozzi) Conigliaro, Hamilton(78th Sykes), Nikocevic (78th Beaton), Nittoli
Fenerbahce USA: Not available