Bavarian SC poses for a team photo after defeating West Chester United 2-0 to win the 2018 USASA Amateur Cup championship. Photo: Matt Schroeder
Bavarian SC lost the 2017 U.S. Amateur Cup final on their own turf just outside of Milwaukee, as New York’s Lansdowne Bhoys prevailed in a 10-round penalty shootout.
Bavarians starting goalkeeper Jim Jones could only watch that game after picking up a red card in the semifinal.
On Saturday, Jones was back for the 2018 final, again on the Bavarians’ home field, and proved his worth.
Jones’ two larcenous second-half stops backed up a pair of first-half set piece goals as the Bavarians defeated West Chester United (PA) 2-0 for their fifth U.S. Amateur Cup title.
While the US Soccer Federation has not announced the format for the 2019 US Open Cup, United State Adult Soccer Association (USASA) President John Motta confirmed that the 2018 Amateur Cup champion will earn an automatic berth into next year’s Open Cup tournament.
The Philadelphia area side controlled most of the first half-hour, driven by the skill and energy of Matt Greer and Lucas Hodges in the midfield. Greer took the game’s first swipe on eight minutes, fizzing a low shot wide.
Three minutes later, he danced out of a tackle at midfield and played a through ball that Jones was forced to come out and collect. Greer continued to create havoc through about 20 minutes.
Players from Bavarian SC celebrate the club’s 2018 USASA Amateur Cup championship with a 2-0 win over West Chester United. Photo: Matt Schroeder
“They’re young guys, and they’re fit,” said Bavarians coach Alex Toth of the West Chester side. “Being college guys, most of them, they’re coming out buzzing around the first 15-20 minutes. We look at it as if we can survive the first 20 minutes without any disasters, everything kind of resets.”
Toth also switched some players around in the formation, and the game leveled out a bit until the Bavarians drew a foul about 45 yards out in the 30th minute. Veteran midfielder Tighe Dombrowski curled a ball into the area, where Dogara Zamani glanced a header inside the far post for the opening goal.
About three minutes later, another free kick from almost exactly on the opposite side of the field was knocked down across the box. Vuk Latinovich got to it first and whipped it past Jonny Paletar to double the lead.
The second half was left to Jones, a Bavarians veteran who played collegiately at Milwaukee-based NAIA school Cardinal Stritch.
Greer pirouetted away from a defender and into the area in the 52nd minute. He rifled a right-footed shot from about 15 yards, but Jones got both hands up and parried it away.
In the 64th, Greer tested Jones further. He ran onto a square ball just outside the 18-yard box and unleashed a screamer. Jones dropped quickly down to his left and again thumped it wide.
“My whole thing this tournament was just trying to see the ball early, that’s what my coach was saying, see the ball early,” Jones said. “I was very confident, I was watching the ball and I was very lucky that where he hit (the second shot) to, I was moving that direction.”
Jones needed the crossbar and a bit of good fortune to preserve the shutout in the 78th. A free kick from about 20 yards caught the underside of the woodwork, ricocheted off Jones’ back and finally was cleared from danger.
West Chester United, which had placed third in the NPSL’s Keystone Division, advanced to the title game with a 2-1 extra time defeat of Kickers FC of Florida on Friday night. Bavarians, which won the USPL Midwest Conference North Division with a 10-0-0 mark, also needed extra time to topple San Nicolas FC of California 2-1.
San Nicolas won Saturday’s third-place match over Kickers FC, 3-1.