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OaM Lower League Round-Up: September 30, 2021

NJ Alliance runs up the score, Open Cup qualifiers defy the odds and get played, and the Sal Rapaglia cup is decided

Lansdowne Yonkers continued their trophy-laden year in style.
Photo by William McGrory

Much of last weekend was dominated by the Hudson River Derby and the New York Red Bulls run of positive results. While the team in Harrison may have raised a few eyebrows, in a good way, the lower leagues have just begun their fall seasons. The New York version of the community shield was just fought for, two teams are having a game they thought was cancelled, and one team started it’s season with a game that needs to be seen.

New Jersey Alliance Opens NISA Nation Play with 15-0 Win

Sunday wasn’t easy for NYC sports fans. The New York Giants lost, 14-17, and the New York Jets had it worse in their defeat, 0-26. But one amateur team played their first match in a new league later that night and won their game… and scored more than both NFL teams combined.

New Jersey Alliance FC defeated Bearfight FC at Albion SC Delaware, 15-0, in the former’s inaugural match in NISA Nation. It got so bad that both the stream and league misreported the final score as 16-0.

It took NJAFC 12 minutes to get on the board but from that point the group averaged a goal every five minutes. The team was coming off a tough elimination from 2022 U.S. Open Cup qualifying and had already got it’s revenge in UPSL league play against the team that beat them. Including anothing league match Alliance has scored 21 unanswered goals across all leagues since the USOC loss.

Former New Amsterdam FC forward Michael Bello and Christopher McLaughlin each lead the team with hat-tricks. Others like Marlon Preciado (also an NAFC alum), Kevin Santamaria, and Ronald Djam contributed with lone goals that tallied up by the final whistle.

Both teams were reached for comment and neither returned requests. It’s not hard to see why though.

It’s been a rough going for Bearfight to start the season. The team won its first match against Atlantic City FC but needed to break into its own stadium beforehand. After the loss on Sunday the team Twitter was blunt, honest, and optimistic.

“Let’s just put this out there and get (past) it. We got our asses handed to us,” the tweet said. “We are not happy about it. We can react negatively, or we can move forward, work harder, and make sure this never happens again. The second option is the path we choose. On to the next week.”

They’ll try to do that against Baltimore’s Steel Pulse FC this Saturday at home. Alliance will try to repeat a double digit win the next day when it hosts Atlantic City at it’s new home at Montclair State University. Alliance also has a road UPSL match the day before in Great River, New York.

Local U.S. Open Cup Qualifier Gets Un-Cancelled

Last weekend during the opening rounds of U.S. Open Cup qualifying six games were reported as being forfeited. Most seemed to be tied to U.S. Soccer’s new player registration system and teams being unable to get enough players approved in time. But after a small leak it turns out one of those games is actually still on and happening this week and it’s local.

The Jackson Lions FC will be visiting EFA Metro this Friday, Oct. 1, in what is now a rescheduled Second Qualifying Round match. The game was originally going to be played at Metro’s home field at Athenia Steel Recreation Complex in Clifton, NJ. However after what EFA is claiming was a “successful appeal” it will now be played at Lyndhurst Recreation Center in Lyndhurst, NJ with kickoff set for 9 PM.

The Lions compete in the Garden State Soccer League and have been trying to reach the Lamar Hunt tournament since 2017 qualifying under their original name Brick Lions. Jackson has previously won the New Jersey State Open Cup in 2019 and is a multi-time GSSL’s Super Division champion. EFA Metro joined the United Premier Soccer League’s Premier Division (Div. 1) in mid-2020. Konrad Plewa, who won the USL with New York Red Bulls II, is a co-owner and former New York Cosmos captain Danny Szetela was the inaugural head coach. Out of the gate the team has done well in the league’s American Division and made the playoffs in both Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.

Lansdowne Wins Rapaglia Cup

A ninth trophy is heading north of the city. Lansdowne Yonkers FC won the Sal Rapaglia Cup earlier this month on September 19. The team beat out other amateur champions from leagues around the city at Verrazano Sports Complex in Brooklyn.

The win automatically secures Lansdowne a spot in the 2021–22 Eastern New York State Soccer Association (ENYSSA) Amateur Cup Final. That tournament is the first step in the Werner Fricker Amateur Cup, which Lansdowne won the 2021 edition of last month.

The tournament, named after ENYSSA president Sal Rapaglia, is like New York’s version of the community shield. The games are all played at one venue over the course of one day with shortened halves. Usually the champions from state cups also take part but those competitions did not occur last year. The other teams involved were:

  • New York Shamrock SC (2020–21 Cosmopolitan Soccer League Division 1 champions)
  • SS Cosma Damiano (2020–21 Long Island Soccer Football League Division 1 champions)
  • C.A. Tumi (2020–21 Eastern District Soccer League Open Division champions)

Yonkers won the state amateur cup, state open cup, and their league (Eastern Premier Soccer League) last year so you can pick which one they were representing in this.

In the semifinals, contested with 25 minute halves, Lansdowne defeated Cosma, 2-0, behind goals from Kyle Parish and Shamir Mullings. Their former Cosmo league brethren didn’t fare as well as The Rocks lost to Tumi, 1-0. The Final kicked off almost immediately after the semis and the Bhoys went down a man in the first minute due to a straight red card for referee decent. Despite the setback Daryl Kavanagh got the team on the board and the lead stood through two 35 minute halves for the win, 1-0.

“It was tough going as we had only 14 players available due to a couple of weddings and injuries but the Bhoys know how to win,” said club president William McGrory after the match.