A poised defensive effort and a well-executed goal in the 73rd minute pushed the Clarence Yotes past Hammers FC, 1-0, in the quarterfinals of the Werner Fricker Cup on Sunday in Fairfax, Va.
The victory, which propels the Buffalo & District Soccer League side to a semifinal match-up against defending champions Christos FC (Maryland), is the BDSL's first in a regional cup competition.
"Overall it was a pretty hard-fought win," said defender Ryan Schroen after the match, "an all-around good team performance to grind out a 1-0 win against a decently matched team."
The Yotes broke the scoreless deadlock with a clinical surge forward. Midfield general Gary Boughton threaded a pass out wide to Chris Berardi, who served a cross to J.J. Hughes for a tap-in. Aided by a second yellow card to a Hammers player in the 76th minute, Clarence killed off the match and preserved the shutout.
The back four of Prince SaySay, Schroen, A.C. LaFlore and Kenny May - backstopped by goalkeeper Len Previte - kept the Hammers' attack at bay. Forward Andrea Conte had the Yotes' best chance of the first half, striking a shot off the goal post.
"We all played surprisingly well together for our first 11 vs. 11 match this year," noted LaFlore.
The Yotes' next opponent recently felt defeat at the hands of another Western New York foe; Christos lost 2-1 to the Rochester RiverDogz Reserves in the USASA Amateur Cup, a different competition than the Werner Fricker Cup. The RiverDogz Reserves had knocked off the BDSL's Sharpshooters, 4-0, in the Western New York Soccer Association play-in game.
Clarence will play Christos FC on May 14, although the time and location details remain unclear.
Clarence's starting XI: Len Previte; Prince SaySay, Ryan Schroen, A.C. LaFlore, Kenny May; J.J. Hughes, Gary Boughton, Chris Berardi, Derek Maier; David Martinez, Andrea Conte.
Substitutes: Andrew Incho, Anthony SaySay, Anthony Calarco, Brendan Brody, Jose Perez, Matt Sprague, Sam Sutherland.