Game pic of NY Pancyprian Freedoms' match versus New York Red Bulls II in the 2016 Open Cup. Picture by Graham Parker
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery
Nov. 19th, 2018
West Chester Predators qualified for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup over NY Pancyprian Freedoms, blanking them, 3-0, on Saturday night away from home at St. John’s University Belson Stadium.
The Predators’ first choice keeper John Paletar suffered a head injury in the fourth minute after colliding with one of his defenders. Evan Blieler stepped in the goal for Paletar.
Losing their starting keeper didn’t get the field players out of the game as they dominated the Freedoms in the first half.
Charles Wilson fired a shot from outside the box in the 22nd minute, lifting NY Pancyprians keeper Hector Guerrero of his feet to tip the ball over the bar.
West Chester had another scoring opportunity eight minutes later when an unmarked Conor Osborne beamed a shot over the bar from the box.
The Predators netted the opener they were earnestly seeking for later in the 38th minute as Matthew Greer charged down the Freedoms’ midfield, caressed the ball between Jeff Matteo and Panayiotis Onisiforou before sizzling a shot to the left near corner from about 20 yards out.
It was NY Pancyprians’ first time conceding a goal in the Open Cup qualifiers. West Chester hit the Freedoms’ net again just five minutes later when Chad Poarcy dribbled past minimum pressure on top of his opponents’ box then cannoned a shot slightly off Onisiforou and into the lower left corner.
The Cypriot club almost cut their visitors’ lead in half in the 70th minute. Adam Himeno pushed the ball wide to Georgi Spanos on the right wing, who delivered a well measured cross to Andreas Chronis. Chronis hit a power header on frame, which beat the keeper but was headed away off the goal line by Enda O’Neill.
The Predators went up by three shortly later in the 73rd minute as Poarcy sped past Spanos from the left wing to the box before squaring a pass to Andreas Bartosinsky, who one-timed a shot to the bottom left corner from the top of the 18.
The Freedoms looked for a consolation goal in the 85th minute but in vain as Jimmy Nealis’ booming-shot from about thirty yards out was deflected off Adam Himeno’s head and hopped just over the crossbar.
Three-time Open Cup champions will miss out on the competition for the third straight season while West Chester will play in the tournament for the second time.
Three key notes
1. Be aware, West Chester is starting to make it a habit to give the CSLers a hard time: West Chester downed Cedar Stars, 2-1, in the NESL and was the only team that defeated F.C. Motown, a club made up mostly of CSLers, edging them 2-1. However Motown conquered the Pennsylvanian club in the playoffs in a penalty shootout after a 1-1 draw.
Lansdowne's men are the only CSLers that recorded a win versus the Predators this year but they did so after West Chester forfeited their encounter in the NESL due to "two to three inches of rain that day on the turnpike," according to head coach Blaise Santangelo.
2. First loss of the season to foreign clubs: NY Pancyrians’ loss to the Predators marked the CSL top flight clubs' first downfall to foreign clubs this campaign.
3. The Freedoms weren't the only ones who couldn't score on the Predators: West Chester didn't concede a goal in their three Open Cup qualifiers.