Lansdowne Bhoys captain Sean Kelly. Hess Boys Photography
Sept. 23rd, 2017
2016 national double champions Christos F.C remarkably reached the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup, setting up a high standard for this year's national double champions, Lansdowne Bhoys.
The Bhoys will start the Open Cup's qualifiers on Sunday with an away game against Brick Lions F.C at 7:30 p.m at Jackson Justice Complex in New Jersey.
Lansdowne star striker Ovan Oakley expressed that he and his teammates are aiming to repeat Christos' wonder in last year's Open Cup, or outdo them, but emphasized that they're focusing on their next game against the Lions for now.
“Like we do for every game, it’s important to focus on a game at a time,” Oakley said. “Going as far as Christos or even further would definitely be in the back of the minds of a lot of our players and other members of the club. For now, we need to qualify. Despite being the best team in the country at this level, we still have to perform.”
Ovan Oakley in a Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup game against Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2015.
The Yonkers-based club is not unfamiliar with Cinderella runs in the Open Cup as they reached the third round two seasons ago by defeating Long Island Rough Riders and Pittsburgh Riverhounds respectively after flying though the qualification rounds, in which they outscored their opponents 8-0.
However they didn’t qualify for the Open Cup last year, falling to F.C Motown 3-2 in the second round of the qualification.
Lansdowne blanked Brick Lions 8-0 the last time they met, which was in the Fritz Marth Amateur Cup Region I final on May 7th, 2017.
“As for our history with Brick Lions, it’s a new year,” Oakley said about his side’s last encounter with them. “Teams get new players and it‘s always harder to play in green and white. Because we are national champions, teams get extremely motivated to beat us so we just have to prepare in practice and be ready to play.”
The Jamaican forward also noted that winning the Fritz Marth and the Werner Fricker Cup boosted the team’s level of play.
“The players here had a great time and the trips made us stronger,” he said. “However, we know that it’s in the past.”
Adding to the national double, Lansdowne won two more competitions in the past three months: the Manning State Cup and the Rapaglia Cup.
Oakley expressed that the players’ confidence and energy are two major factors behind the team’s recent accomplishments.
“Confidence is always a part of players at this club and I think that is one of the reasons why were are so successful,” the 26-year-old said. “We have players who are extremely passionate about the game. Players like Craig Purcell and Michael Holzer. They bring that energy to the squad that is much needed."
Lansdowne Bhoys veteran Craig Purcell. Hess Boys Photography
Oakley later added: “I think we are motivated and we will be fine going into the game this weekend. We have been preparing in training and the sessions are great and all the players seem motivated."
Lansdowne hasn't lost a game since June 1st when NY Greek Americans edged them 1-0 in the CSL semifinal.
Brick Lions, on the other end, won their first two league-games (GSSL) of the season, outscoring their opponents 7-2. The Jersey-based club competed in the Open Cup qualifiers for the first time last year. They conquered Vereingung Erzgebirge 5-2 in the first round before losing to Junior Lone Star F.C 3-2 in the second round.
All-time Open Cup stats (qualifiers included)
Lansdowne Bhoys (2): 2015, 2016
Brick Lions F.C (1): 2016
Lansdowne Bhoys: third round (2015)
Brick Lions F.C: second qualification round (2016)
Lansdowne Bhoys: (5-2)
Brick Lions (1-1)
Lansdowne Bhoys: 19
Brick Lions F.C: 7
Lansdowne Bhoys: 8
Brick Lions: 5