Cedar Stars Academy head coach Austin Friel [top right] posing for a team picture with his players. Cedar Stars Academy Images
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery |@onz_11
Dec. 4th, 2018
Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. overpowered Cedar Stars Academy twice in the first two matches of their three straight cup games—don’t ask who made that schedule—downing them, 2-1, in the Eastern N.Y. Werner Fricker Open Cup final on Wednesday and, 2-0, in the Manning State Cup semifinals on Sunday.
The Stars have an opportunity to punch Lansdowne back with an avenging win on Tuesday night as the two clubs will face each other in the ENY Amateur Cup final at Fleming Field at 8:00 p.m.
However Cedar Stars head coach Austin Friel, who led Lansdowne from 2013 to June 2018 and won the Manning Cup, the Fricker Cup and the Amateur Cup with them, stated that he’s not going after beating the Bhoys but he’s focused on winning the ENY Amateur Cup to move to the regional stages of the competition.
“We want to win Tuesday night to advance in the Amateur Cup [regional stages], not to get a win against Lansdowne. Those are the expectations we have at Cedar Stars with every game we play,” Friel said.
Cedar Stars Academy head coach Austin Friel back in his time at Tibbetts Brook Park with Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. Images
The Irish coach expressed that he’s not overlooking at his club’s two straight losses to LYFC but instead has his mind set on a game-plan to win tonight’s match against them.
“Lansdowne are a top team and there’s no time to think about the past when we were playing them. I’m thinking about what Cedar Stars need to do to win the game,” Friel said.
The Bhoys are not unbeatable of course, they went through an aching transition period after Friel’s departure alongside five key players from last season. They lost six consecutive games to CSL clubs and were the last placed team in the league for two rounds in October but the Yonkers based club recovered and is now on a 15-match winning run.
Yes, Lansdowne is not unbeatable of course but it’s going to take a heck of a performance to beat this rejuvenated green club. Friel himself shared how tough it is to outplay his old team but went on to expressing that Cedar Stars needs to overcome the winning nature of the CSL champions tonight.
“Lansdowne are always a hard team to beat, but we need to get past that Tuesday night and get the win,” he said.
Conquering the Bhoys isn’t foreign to the Stars, in fact before losing to them in the first match of their triple header, they didn’t lose to the Irish club in four outings, recording three wins and one draw. Friel was back at Lansdowne in two of those defeats CSA inflicted on Jim Kelly's men.
Yes, just five months ago, the Irishman was the bossman in Lansdowne’s locker room and won 10 trophies with them in five years. Nevertheless, Friel previously said in September that he doesn’t pay mind to the “buzz” behind him playing against his former club but is focused on getting the result needed.
The way the 2017 Region I Coach of the Year started his season with the Stars, you would have to be a top soccer analyst to predict two straight losses to Lansdowne in cup games.
Cedar Stars started the season with an 11-match winning run, which includes two wins over the Bhoys. But now, despite a forfeit victory over NY Athletic Club in the Manning Cup, CSA is on a four-game winless streak. They drew with powerhouse NY Greek Americans, 1-1, and fell to another powerhouse NY Pancyprian Freedoms, 4-3, in the league before their two consecutive losses to Lansdowne.
Cedar Stars Academy players and head coach Austin Friel after their 4-3 loss to NY Pancyprian Freedoms on Nov. 4th. Cedar Stars Academy Images
Although, the Stars were going against three of the toughest amateur teams in New York, Friel isn’t happy with his side’s previous scorelines.
“The recent results have been unacceptable from our perspective regardless of the opposition,” he said.
Friel has never lost three straight games in his coaching career in the CSL, let’s see if he’ll escape that tonight.