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Lower League Round-Up: November 28, 2022

FC Motown is back open for business, Cosmos supporters remain organized, and the Pancyprian Freedoms add to their trophy cabinet

EV kit designer Zac Freeland (top right) and members of both NY Cosmos SG & EV loves NYC. (Credit: Dr. Laurie Scherer)

Hopefully those of you reading this had a good Thanksgiving and got the least ripped off possible on Black Friday. The Holiday season is a time to give thanks and reflect… but with the World Cup in full swing the soccer world hasn’t really had a chance to slow down.

But at the lower levels things have had a chance to breathe. Many of the amateur state and regional leagues that follow Fall-Spring seasons have gone on winter break. There’s a handful of games still to be played in December. But for the most part this is announcement and rumor time.

Here’s everything you need to know! Additionally, a full round of 16 update regarding the New Jersey Men’s Open State Cup will come later this week. One game was delayed due to a participant playing in a much larger tournament (which is also discussed below).

FC Motown Opens Season Tickets for NPSL

It’s fairly common, especially in the current sports landscape, for fans to say a team is another team’s “B” squad. Usually it happens when a number of players or staff that have played together previously reunite on a new team. Some examples include the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning being the New York Rangers South for signing multiple former players, especially captains.

There’s some bias in me bringing up that example but believe me I’m going somewhere with this.

When it comes to the New York Red Bulls it’s easy to point to what team is the B team. It actually exists and is joining MLS Next PRO in 2023. So… that would make FC Motown something like New York Red Bulls III. The plethora of former Bull names in the team includes its head coach Gideon Baah and multiple players like Dilly Duka and Roy Boateng.

This means the news that Motown is selling season tickets for 2023 might tempt some of the RBNY fandom. For the first time, the Morristown side is selling packages for next summer’s National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) season. This is following up last season where the club won the 2022 NPSL National Championship for the first time in front of a sold-out crowd at Montclair State University.

Fans can choose between two season package options with either single ticket ($50) or two ticket ($100) plans available. Both plans get fans into all of Motown’s home NPSL games at Drew University’s Ranger Stadium, including both regular season and playoffs. The season ticket also includes admission into all home U.S. Open Cup matches in 2023, which the team has almost certainly qualified for as league champions. Those that buy the two-ticket plan will also receive a game-used jersey from one of Motown’s games this year.

While the 2023 schedule has not been announced, we can use 2022 to try and get a baseline for value. This past season Motown played five regular season home games between Drew and Montclair State. In the postseason, the team hosted five of its six games between the conference, regional, and national playoffs. Finally, in the U.S. Open Cup the team hosted three games, including the nullified First Round game against West Chester United.

That’s a total of 13 home games in 2022, bringing the cost to $3.85 per game using the upcoming season’s ticket plan price. While Open Cup and playoffs aren’t guaranteed, anything over the five home games means the season ticket is paying less than $10 per game.

The cost of both a league championship and U.S. Open Cup run in the same year isn’t easy on a lower division club. This is doubly so for Motown who also field a second team in USL League Two, featuring younger players from STA Soccer Academy. The club has already had to make tough decisions including not fielding a team in the Garden State Soccer League this season.

Solidarity World Cup to Tackle Food Insecurity in NYC

The New York Cosmos have not kicked a ball since Fall 2020 and their current prospects to hit the field soon are slim. However that doesn’t mean the team’s impact isn’t being felt elsewhere. The Cosmos Supporters Collective, a group of disenfranchised fans who’ve rallied around local soccer, have continued to do charity work across New York City.

With both the holidays and FIFA World Cup underway, the group has helped organize a Solidarity World Cup to help raise donations.

The event will take place Thursday, December 1, at The Ground on the lower east side (Chinatown) starting at 6 PM. All proceeds will go to EVLovesNYC, a volunteer-run non-profit that provides meals to those in need within the five boroughs. The main event will see a 4v4 soccer tournament featuring teams such as NY Cosmos Alumni, led by former USMNT player Danny Szetela, and NY International FC.

EV and Cosmos fans have shared a connection since the former’s founding in 2020 during the early months of COVID-19. That’s continued despite the team’s current murky status, especially given the recent influx of immigrants to the city via buses from states such as Texas.

Vistula Garfield & Lansdowne Yonkers Advance in U.S. Open Cup Qualifying

The Third Qualifying Round for the 2023 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup took place last weekend. Of the three locals still active, two moved on. They’ll meet in December’s “Win and You’re In” fourth round with a spot in the tournament proper on the line.

Saturday, November 19 began with Lansdowne Yonkers FC (Yonkers, NY) defeating Oyster Bay United FC (Oyster Bay, NY), 4-1, at Tibbetts Brook Park (Yonkers, NY). Both teams competed in the 2022 Open Cup and both won games in the First Round against national league opponents. Over 100 fans saw the home side advance as they seek a fourth-ever Open Cup berth.

Joseph DeVivo put Lansdowne ahead in the 33rd minute with a volley just outside the six yard box. After a few more chances to start the second half Shaquille Sanchez doubled the lead in the 61st. A blocked shot by Oyster Bay keeper Jean Carlo Perez rebounded towards him for the nonchalant tap in goal. United responded four minutes later when Julio Espinal beat Lansdowne down the right flank and slotted home a low strike. But that’s as close as it would get. Shawn Genus scored both of Lansdowne’s final goals (79th, 87th minutes) to secure the win.

A little west and across the Hudson River SC Vistula Garfield (Garfield, NJ) defeated IASC Boom (Rochester, NY), 2-1, at Athenia Steel Recreation Complex (Clifton, NJ). Garfield’s year continues to get better. The side is undefeated this season in the Garden State Soccer League’s Super Division and won a game in the USASA Region I Amateur Cup tournament earlier this year.

Vistula got ahead early with a great build-up that ended with a Wojciech Piwowarczyk header about 10 minutes in. Boom, a reserve team to UPSL side Roc City Boom, equalized midway through the second half. A counter attack run by Ayub Jeylani saw a through ball feed to Austin Gerber, who beat the keeper one on one. While the game seemed destined for overtime until a former New York Red Bulls’ player played hero. Christopher Karcz picked up a loose ball off a blocked cross in front of the net with about ten minutes to play and put Vistula ahead for the final time.

Vistula, a club with a 70-year history, are now one win away from qualifying for the US Open Cup for the first time in the Modern Era (1995-present). They do have some tournament experience however. According to records, the team participated in the tournament as far back as 1971.

Tuesday’s Fourth Qualifying Round draw revealed that Vistula Garfield will host Lansdowne Yonkers on December 17 at 7:45 PM. The winner of the game at Athenia Steel Recreation Complex will join the field of the 108th U.S. Open Cup tournament.

(Read the full Third Round Qualifying Review on

Pancyprian Freedoms Win ENYSSA Werner Fricker Cup

The New York Pancyprian Freedoms (Astoria, NY) defeated Lansdowne Yonkers FC, 2-0, in the state finals for the Werner Fricker Open Cup on Tuesday night. As champions of the Eastern New York State Soccer Association (ENYSSA) Pancyprian moves on to the USASA Region I tournament. It will face teams from across the Northeast starting in Spring 2023.

The Freedoms were one of three teams competing for the trophy in East New York with all coming from the Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL). In the lone semifinal match New York demolished Suffolk County Football Club (Long Island), 9-0, back in late October. Last week’s game was much closer, with both teams being at the top of the EPSL’s Metropolitan Conference table heading into the winter break.

Lansdowne was looking to recapture the success it had during its 2021-22 stretch. Against the conference leading Freedoms the team did keep the high scoring offense off the scoreboard for the first half. However their offense failed to make progress and the game remained scoreless at the break. Five minutes into the second tilt, former New York Cosmos’ player Charlie Ledula broke the deadlock. A Freedoms’ shot was initially saved by Abdoukarim Danso but Ledula charged from the left side to poke the loose rebound into the net. Then in the 61st minute, Federico De Oliveira lobbed a shot from the left corner of the penalty area over Kabo’s head to make it 2-0.

It’s the second biggest goal for De Oliveira this year. Back in April, his extra time goal lifted FC Motown over third division professional team AC Syracuse Pulse in the U.S. Open Cup.

The Fricker Cup has been a complicated competition the last decade or so. Following 2015, the U.S. Adult Soccer Association officially stopped sanctioning the tournament at a national level. However, the four USASA regions are free to continue the competition at their own discretion. Some regions, like the Northeast’s Region I, still hold tournaments to crown their own Werner Cup champions. Others like West’s Region IV have completely eliminated the tournament from their calendar.

Once all the participating regions have completed their own tournaments, they still hold a “national final” that isn’t really recognized by USASA (but is still listed on the association’s website). That tournament is held at USASA’s “Champions of Regions” event alongside the association’s recognized finals like the Over-40 championship.

Lansdowne Yonkers won the title back in 2021 and PA’s West Chester United SC kept the trophy in Region I last year.