Lansdowne Bhoys left back Jean Ismael Voltaire in a game against NY Pancyprian Freedoms. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
Oct. 20th, 2017
Yonkers’ sky was fading back from Lansdowne's green color to blue on Oct. 10th as the amateur champions were surprisingly down in the second half for the first time since winning the national double in the summer, 1-0 to their bloody rivals NY Pancyprian Freedoms.
The referee’s watch wound down to the 85th minute and Lansdowne was still down by a goal. Voltaire, who’s only been a Bhoy for a year, rose for a header in the six-yard box. Not quite. The ex-Haiti U-20 left back's header whistled past the net.
It seemed as if Lansdowne was on its way to a second consecutive loss to the Freedoms but Voltaire was determined to keep his side unbeaten. The NYC Haiti defender made another run from the back in the 88th minute and knocked Anthony Grant’s cross in the net.
Voltaire saved Lansdowne from losing to NY Pancyprian but 12 days from then, this Sunday, they're scheduled to play their bothersome rivals again--not in the league but in the most meaningful game of amateur soccer this time: a U.S Open Cup qualifier.
The amateur champions are not entering the qualifying match on a good note as they were knocked out of the Amateur Cup by their other troublesome Greek CSL rival, NY Greek Americans, 7-6, in penalties in their last game—yes, the sky is back to blue in Yonkers for now.
“After that loss we’re very ambitious to beat Pancyprians on Sunday,” Voltaire told a CSL reporter. “I can tell you that we’re more comfortable when we play against the Pancyprians on their field. We’re going to qualify no matter what.”
To factify Voltaire’s claim that Lansdowne is more comfortable playing on the Pancyprians’ turf, the Yonkers-based club defeated the Freedoms the last two times they faced them at Belson Stadium and hasn’t lost to them there in the league since May 2014.
The Bhoys have made themselves a home at NY Pancyprian Freedoms' Belson Stadium, not having lost a league game there since May 2014. Photo by Dinos Avlonistis
The fullback is confident that he will find the net again against the Greek-Cypriot team.
“I scored two goals in three games against the Pancyprians, this gives me a lot of confidence,” he said. “I believe that I will score against them on Sunday, I’m really motivated.”
Sunday’s matchup will be a clash between the best defensive and offensive team of the CSL as the Freedoms lead the league in scoring with 2.4 goals scored per game when Lansdowne conceded a league-low of 0.75 goals per game.
The Caribbean defender is aiming to rack a clean sheet against the Freedoms’ ferocious attack.
“I will outdo myself so we can get a clean sheet,” Voltaire said. “If we don’t concede any goals, we will win.”
Sunday isn’t the first time, the two CSL giants will meet in the Open Cup qualifiers. Lansdowne edged NY Pancyprian, 3-2, in last year’s opening qualifiers through Christiano Francois' spot kick in extra-time.
Lansdowne didn’t go on to qualify for the Open Cup as they lost to F.C Motown, 3-2, in the second qualification round.
Voltaire encourages Lansdowne’s fans to be assured that the club will be in the competition this season. “It’s a big game on Sunday, I want all the fans to come support us and stay faithful that Lansdowne will qualify.”
The Greek-Cypriot community in Queens have another CSL team they’re dreaming to see participate in America’s most prestigious soccer competition of course.
Four key notes
1. NY Pancyprian Freedoms right back James Riley will look to qualify for the Open Cup for the first time as an amateur player after winning the competition five times in his professional career.
2. Lansdowne defeated the Freedoms the last two times they played at St. John’s University Belson Stadium.
3. Both sides are undefeated this season, Lansdowne in eight games and NY Pancyprian in seven games.
4. Lansdowne is the best defensive team in the CSL, conceding 0.75 goals per game. NY Pancyprian on the other end is the best attacking CSL team, scoring 2.4 goals per game.
10-10-17: Lansdowne Bhoys 1-1 NY Pancyprian Freedoms at Tibbetts Brook Park Field 3 [CSL game]
Lansdowne Bhoys: T T W W W
NY Pancyprian Freedoms: W T W W W
Open Cup first qualifying round result:
NY Pancyprian Freedoms: 2-1 win vs Newtown Pride F.C at St. John’s University Belson Stadium
Lansdowne Bhoys F.C: 2-1 win vs Jackson Lions at Jackson Justice Complex (NJ)
Players to watch
NY Pancyprian Freedoms
Outside midfielder Adam Himeno: The reigning CSL player of the week leads the Freedoms in scoring all competition with five goals alongside Andreas Chronis. Himeno assisted NY Pancyprian's opening goal against the Bhoys in last season's qualifiers.
In form Adam Himeno in a game against NY Greek Americans, in which he scored a goal and provided an assist. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
Lansdowne Bhoys F.C
Left back Jean Ismael Voltaire: The 23-year-old is Lansdowne's second top scorer in the CSL as a fullback with two goals. He netted twice in three games against the Freedoms including an 88th-minute tying goal last week.
Lansdowne Bhoys F.C left back Jean Ismael Voltaire defending against NY Pancyprian Freedoms. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis