After a weekend of quarterfinal action, the USASA’s Region I, which covers the northeastern part of the country, has reached it’s final four. With victories on Sunday, May 1, three New York-based clubs and a Philadelphia team have put themselves one win away from qualifying for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
The Brooklyn Italians defeated Go Soccer FC 1-0 and will face newcomers Fenerbahce USA in the semifinals. Fenerbahce survived a wild match with Danbury United and advance on penalty kicks. Meanwhile, the United German Hungarians defeated Charm City FC 3-1 to set up a match with the historic club, New York Pancyprian Freedoms. The Freedoms needed extra time to eliminate D.C.’s Aegean Hawks, 2-1. The semifinal matches are scheduled to be played on Sunday, May 23, with the winners qualifying for the US Open Cup. Fenerbahce USA is the only club of the four who has never qualified for the tournament, with the other three having either won the tournament (Brooklyn: 1991; New York: 1980, 1982, 1983), or finished as a runner-up (UGH: 1977, 1993; Brooklyn: 1979, 1981, 1990).
FENERBAHCE USA (EAST NY) 4:4 DANBURY UNITED (CT)
(Fenerbahce USA advances 4-3 on PKs)
Portuguese Cultural Center – Danbury, Conn.
Keith Detelj of Fenerbahce USA challenges for the ball against Danbury United. Cover Photo: Gus Xikis
After a crazy back and forth match, it would take penalty kicks to separate Fenerbahce USA of Eastern New York and Connecticut’s Danbury United. Fenerbahce, competing in US Open Cup qualifying for the first time, would emerge victorious in the tiebreaker after finishing extra time tied at 4-4.
Fenerbahce USA scored two goals in the first ten minutes of the match, but before the game got out of hand, Danbury answered with two goals of their own before halftime. The two clubs couldn’t break the deadlock in regulation, but in overtime, it was the first half all over again. Fenerbahce scored twice, and it looked like they were going to walk away with the match, but, once again, the Connecticut club retaliated with two goals to tie the game back up in the final minutes of extra time to send the match into a penalty kick shootout.
Jose Batista scored two of the goals for Fenerbahce, with Keith Detelj and Frank Alesci adding one each.
Fenerbahce USA will host fellow New York club, the Brooklyn Italians, in a battle of the old and the new. Brooklyn won the tournament in 1991 and finished runner-up three times, while this is brand new to Fenerbahce, who was founded in 2001.
Fenerbahce USA lineup: GK: EJ Xikis (45th – John Sanfilippo), James Davis, Laurent Manuel, Alejandro Montanez, Diego Martinez, Mohammad Mashriqi, Torres Garcia, Christopher Alesci (75th – Deleon Herbert), Frank Alesci, Jose Batista, Keith Detelj