The club’s Men’s Team went on to qualify to the LISFL Premier McKim League Cup Finals on Sunday night, besting an undefeated New York Irish Rovers side. The team, coached by Joe Balsamo and captained by Nicolò Baudo, would see the match end in a 1-1 tie, thanks to a rocket of a goal scored by the returning Momodou early in the second half, which would then proceed into a nail-biting penalty shootout.
The FA Euro New York side, comprised mostly of home grown youth players between the 2000-2003 age group, have played a very mature, compact game against a more experienced side in the Rovers. Henry Hysenagolli, Hage Hysenagolli, Vincent Balsamo, Nermin Buljubasic, Keirol Aaron, Jean Yi, Kwesi Kwadwo, Abdoul Fofana, Enci Roçi and Nika Metrevelli (fresh off his first international call up with the Georgian National Team) all featured, all under the age of 19.
The match was an evenly contested affair, with both sides creating goal scoring opportunities. Irish Rovers struck first, scoring in the 49thminute of a corner kick, which FA Euro failed to defend properly, that saw a lofty header sail in the upper right corner of the goal. The boys reacted in strong fashion, pressing high for their efforts to be rewarded. Another corner kick that was cleared by the opposition landed perfectly for Momodou Sawaneh who blasted the ball into the net, leaving the keeper no chance to save it.
The match concluded and proceeded to penalties where a very unlikely hero rose to the occasion. With injuries plaguing both team goalkeepers, Ahmed Faiad and Mahmoud Mohamed, Club Executive Director Marco Balsamo filled in between the posts as an emergency replacement. Irish Rovers would go on to score their first penalty. 2001 player Keirol Aaron coolly slotted the ball in the back of the net, sending the keeper in the opposite direction. Irish Rovers’ second penalty attempt failed, as Marco Balsamo pulled off a tremendous save, cutting off the penalty taker’s angle and thwarting a low driven shot in the left-hand corner. Irish Rovers converted their third with a central shot that unluckily escaped through the interim goalkeeper’s hands. The club’s latest signing, a returning Aziz Ziyaev scored the third penalty for the club, with an assertive low driven shot that left the keeper no chance. Irish Rovers scored their fourth, another very unfortunate goal that Keeper Marco should have saved as the ball snuck under his body and sneaked its way into the back of the net. The final penalty rested on the shoulders of Nicolò Baudo. The captain kept his cool and used his experience to send the keeper the wrong way, scored, and sent the team into the tournament’s final.
Nicolò Baudo: “I am very happy for the team and our performance. We played against a strong opponent and showed, despite our young age, that we are a team that plays good football. It’s a learning experience for the youth players, who continue to grow and improve every day. This is a good test before the next two important events of the season: Viareggio and the USL. I believe we are on the right path.”
The team will go on to face off against Glen Cove in the LISFL McKim League Cup Final in a date to be later determined sometime in June 2020.