Lansdowne Yonkers celebrate their Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL) Metropolitan Conference title victory over Manhattan Celtic last Saturday night.

Lansdowne take EPSL title with 3-0 win at Tibbetts Brook Park

One of the nation’s top semi-pro clubs, Lansdowne Yonkers, clinched their second Eastern Premier Soccer League (EPSL) Metropolitan Conference title with a 3-0 win over Manhattan Celtic at Tibbetts Brook Park last Saturday night.

 First half goals by Swedish midfielder Vigo Sjoberg and striker Shamir Mullings had the Bhoys ahead at the interval in a hard fought affair pitting Lansdowne’s first-year coach Matt Kane against his former club where he spent a decade.

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 Sjoberg headed in a corner for the opener, before Mullings, a former pro in the English Football League whose former clubs include Forest Green Rovers, Aldershot Town FC, Dulwich Hamlet and Weymouth, went one-on-one with the Celtic goalie and bested him.

 Celtic had some opportunities, but Lansdowne shot stopper Daniel Di Marco, from Manhattan College, was equal to the task in front of nearly 200 fans and some 5,000 watching online.

 The Celts kept pressing on resumption. But Kyle Galloway would put the outcome beyond doubt with Lansdowne’s third goal. It came from a beautiful Liam Salmon cross. Galloway would have another strike, a possible goal-of-the-season contender canceled for offside.

 The title victory saw Lansdowne up their record this season to 7-3-1 [win-draw-loss] with one regular season match to play this weekend at SC Vistula Garfield in New Jersey. The Bhoys clinch first place, a $7,000 cash prize and the #1 seeding in the EPSL playoffs.  They meet either Doxa FCW or Hoboken FC in the playoffs.

 “It always feels great,” Mullings, who’s also director of the Lansdowne youth program, said of the success. “There’s been a lot of work put in from the Bhoys and the staff. Credit to Matt (Kane) who’s come in and taken over, and made it what it is. He puts a lot of effort into everything he does and it shows.”

 Kane, in turn, had kudos for his number two.  “Credit to my phenomenal assistant coach Jordan Collver, who helped in every step of the way and spotted great talent in a lot of the new players, but credit to the players who were working hard every step of the way.”

 In addition to coaching Celtic, Kane, a 33-year-old Belfastman, was previously on the New York Red Bulls technical staff, and with the Met Oval Academy.

 On leading the Bhoys against his old side, Kane noted: “It could have been any team, and we had a job to do, and we stuck to it. Fair play to Manhattan Celtic who made the game very difficult. There was no pressure, and I’m glad we got to do our job.”

Lansdowne’s remaining matches include a trip to Horsham, Pennsylvania, on Father’s Day, June 16,  to defend their Region 1 Werner Fricker Cup against either Christos (Baltimore, MD) or West Chester United (West Chester, PA). If they win their first two EPSL playoff matches, they will travel to Lancaster, PA for the inter-conference playoffs and a shot at the EPSL championship. They last won the EPSL in 2021, and if victorious again will represent the Northeast in the National Independent Soccer Association (NISA) Nation National playoffs in Irvine, California, this December.

 Winning that would cap the year off with a sixth national title for the club, and the eighth to come from a Yonkers soccer team. The original Yonkers FC won the USFA Cup in 1913, the Yonkers Polish American Eagles won the National Amateur Cup in 1987, and Lansdowne won the 2017 National Amateur Cup, the 2017 National Fricker Cup, the 2019 Fricker Cup, the 2021 Amateur Cup, and the 2021 Fricker Cup.