NY Greek Americans players, club members and fans celebrating the penalty kick win over NY Pancyprian Freedoms in the Eastern NY Amateur Cup final. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
Dec. 2nd, 2017
NY Greek Americans players speak on the 6-5 penalty kick win over their rivals NY Pancyprian Freedoms in the Eastern NY Amateur Cup final and of the club's aim of winning the national double and the CSL.
NY Greek Americans’ 6-5 penalty kick win over NY Pancyprian Freedoms in the Eastern NY Amateur Cup final was by no doubt the toughest victory in the club’s quest of winning the national double and the CSL this season.
"It is an incredible feeling to have won the game in the fashion that we did," veteran defender Joseph Ruesgen said, “for a long period of time, I am sure not many would have thought we could pull it off. Being that is was against our biggest and oldest rival certainly sweetened the occasion even further.
"It certainly was a moment of pure elation and one that was enjoyed thoroughly by everyone associated with the club."
NY Greek Americans left back Joseph Ruesgen. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
NYGA was down by two goals in the second half.
Captain Shaun “Fozzy” Foster pulled one goal back for the Greeks, lobbing the ball over the opposing keeper.
Foster was instrumental in NYGA’s equalizer also. The defensive midfielder hit a right footed shot that hit the crossbar; the rebound fell to Colin Murphy, who volleyed the ball off a NY Pancyprian player and into the net.
Shaun "Fozzy" Foster scored and struck the initial shot that caused the own goal in NY Greeks Americans' 2-2 draw with the Freedoms. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
NY Greeks playmaker Stephen Roche praised Foster for guiding the team to the 2-2 draw before the penalty shootout.
“Shaun, he’s the best,” Roche said. “He’s our leader, on Tuesday he led by example and like you said he carried the team. When he plays well everyone else seems to play better as well. He’s a great guy, he’s a good friend of mine, he’s a great teammate to have as well.”
The CSL champions were confident going into the shootout.
“To be honest [it wasn’t] that nervous,” Roche said. “We have a lot of experienced players and we know we have a very good goalkeeper. I said before the shootout that Roberto [Andrea-Pellegrini] would save two, just like he did against Lansdowne [in the semifinal] and he did it again. So we knew that he’s going to save a couple and we have experienced guys to take them so we were very confident going into the penalty shootout.”
NY Greek Americans midfielder Stephen Roche said the team wasn't nervous going into the penalty shootout. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
Both teams netted their first five penalties. Pellegrini blocked the Freedoms’ first sudden death spot kick but Tristan couldn’t capitalize on his opponents’ miss to win it for the Greeks as he also failed to convert his PK.
Pellegrini blocked NY Pancyprian’s seventh kick. Ruesgen was the next NY Greeks kicker—a left back who captained the team when they won the Amateur Cup in 2014.
“When I saw that I could kick the winning shot I knew I would score,” Ruesgen said. “Roberto did an amazing job saving the previous penalty which really boosted my confidence even further.”
“Naturally, I was a little nervous, but was more excited to have the opportunity to take it. We had carried a lot of luck that evening and knew it was going to be our night before I kicked it. After that it was just a case of focusing and hitting it firmly enough.”
Ruesgen’s spot kick booked a spot in the regional stages of the Amateur Cup to keep the club’s dream of doing the undoable--winning the national double and the CSL in one season--alive.
NY Greeks top scorer Tyler Botte expressed how happy the club members were after the win.
“It's so awesome to see the reactions and hear how much it all means to Tony [Bouklis], George [Mellis], Jimmy and the rest of the Greek-American board members that put in so much time and effort on a daily basis because they absolutely deserve it.
He previously said: “It obviously means a lot to be a part of getting the club back to where it truly belongs and deserves to be. To do it with this group of guys that I've played with and been coached by for so long, and are some of my best friends even off the field makes it even more special.”
NY Greek Americans star forward Tyler Botte. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
The forward also admitted how difficult it is to reach their aim of bagging the national double and the CSL title but he's confident.
“We know accomplishing the goal of completing the double is by no means going to be an easy feast. Especially with so many great teams to go through to get there. With so much experience and ability throughout the roster we realize it is definitely something that is within out capabilities for sure.”
As of now the club clinched the regional stages of the Amateur Cup, will play Lansdowne in the ENY Fricker Cup final and sits in fifth place in the league, one point below the last playoff spot.