NY Greek Americans defensive midfielder Shaun Foster on the ball against Cedar Stars Academy. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
Oct. 18th, 2017
During the offseason, NY Greek Americans playmaker Stephen Roche shared that he and his teammates are aiming to repeat Lansdowne Bhoys’ national double. A bit ambitious, taking into consideration that you have to pass by the amateur champions, Lansdowne, in order to move to the regional stages.
NY Greek Americans star midfielder Stephen Roche in a game against NY Atletic Club. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
But doable, NY Greeks outlasted Lansdowne 7-6 in penalty kicks after a 0-0 draw on Tuesday night in the opening round of the Eastern NY stages of the Fritz Marth National Amateur Cup.
Roche’s teammate, Shaun Foster, (both players are former Lansdowne players) expressed how ecstatic it is to see off the best amateur team in the Amateur Cup.
“It feels fantastic,” Foster said. “They're obviously an excellent side, but we got our tactics right against them again and we were able to hold our nerve during the shootout.”
The Bhoys defeated the Greeks’ B-team, 3-0, in the Rapaglia Cup final on Sept. 17th. But going into Tuesday, if you had to pick a team to beat the Bhoys, CSL champs NY Greeks would arguably be on top of the list. The Greeks are the last ones who defeated the Irish team in regular play, edging them 1-0 in last year’s CSL semifinal.
And NYGA has five ex-Bhoys who are hungry to outperform their former team: Roche (ex-Lansdowne captain), Foster, Jimmy Nealis, Colin Murphy and Glen Reid.
“Yes, the four of us obviously have that little bit of extra motivation every time we play them and tonight [Tuesday] was no different,” Foster said.
The former Hofstra University player previously uttered that his side was confident going into the game.
“We are confident against any team that we come up against,” Foster said. “Obviously it doesn't get much more difficult than Lansdowne away, but we managed to frustrate them throughout. The shootout could have gone either way, fortunately for us it went our way.”
Shaun Foster protecting the ball from Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Jonathan Okafor. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
The Englishman also noted that their experience and their defensive style of play was key in the victory.
“I think we have a lot of experience in the team and that allows the coaching staff to trust the players fully,” the defensive midfielder said. “At the weekend [in a 7-0 win over Serbia in the Manning Cup] we had to take the game to the opposition, tonight we sat in and played on the counter attack and in the end, could have won in regular time.”
The 29-year-old explained that the team must not get comfortable after eliminating Lansdowne.
“For me, Lansdowne have been the best team in the country for a few years so to knock them out at this early stage is a huge boost but we know there’s a very long way to go. We can't get carried away as there are a lot of other great teams still in the cup.”
Foster and company will be on the lookout for a Lansdowne-vengeance in the league. “I'm sure they'll be looking to dethrone us in the league now,” he said.
Next time NYGA will verse Lansdowne is on Nov. 26th at 8:00 p.m. at the Met Oval.
Penalty kick shootout summary
1. Lukas Zarges (scored)
2. Anthony Grant (saved)
3. Michael Holzer (scored)
4. Abdoukarim "Kabo" Danso (scored)
5. Omar Tal (scored)
6. Ovan Oakley (scored)
7. Daryl Kavanagh (hit the cross bar)
8. Sean Kelly (scored)
9. Craig Purcell (saved)
Keeper Abdoukarim "Kabo" Danso: two saves
NY Greek Americans
1. Anthony Alfonso (scored)
2. Colin Murphy (scored)
3. Jimmy Nealis (scored)
4. Shaun Foster (saved)
5. Stephen Roche (scored)
6. Tyler Botte (scored)
7. John Sabal (saved)
8. Cheikh Drame (scored)
9. Peter Gadze (scored)
Keeper Andrea-Roberto Pellegrini: two saves