Contributor STEVEN TORRES
A Historical Look Back At First U.S. Club To Win On Mexican Soil
With the New York Red Bulls visiting CD Guadalajara (Chivas) in the semifinals of the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League next month, we take a historical look back at the first U.S. player to lead a New York team to victory against a Mexican club, on the road, during a confederation tournament match. Midfielder Andrew "Andy" Mate notched three tallies (hat-trick) to lead the New York Hungaria SC to a 3:2 win over CD Oro on March 18, 1963.
The match, which took place a the El Pedregal Stadium in Guadalajara, Mexico to a crowd of 35,000, was the first leg of the 1963 CONCACAF Champions' Cup (now Champions League) opening round for both teams.
CD Oro were the defending Mexican champion after defeating Chivas for the league title the season before. Meanwhile, NY Hungaria, who were coached by Geza Henni, was a member of the German American Soccer League (GASL) . The GASL was founded in 1923 as a semi-professional/amateur league that comprised of teams located in the New York City area. In 1977, the GASL was renamed to what it is know as today: The Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
Founded in 1920, NY Hungaria had qualified for the 1963 CONCACAF tournament by capturing the U.S. National Challange Cup (now called U.S. Open Cup) in 1962.
"It was a full stadium, which was very unusual for us as we normally, at the most, played in front of 2,000," said club's leading scorer Mate in 2011. "It was a big thing for us as we were amateurs compared to the Mexican side (CD Oro) who had professionals.
"They (CD Oro) didn't acknowledge us as players and underestimated us, which worked to our advantage on the field."
The home team struck first in the opening 10 minutes through Mexican international defender Gustavo Pena, before Hungarian born Mate leveled the match (1:1) in the 18th minute.
After Brazilian forward Amaury Epaminondas (33rd) gave CD Oro a 2:1 lead just before haltime. Mate once again drew NY Hungaria even (2:2) with his second tally in the 54th minute.
Then, with two minutes left, Mate notched the game-winner, completing the scoreline registering the third ever hat-trick (first by a U.S. player) in Champions' Cup history.
Mate, who passed away in 2012, also recalled about the game in Mexico in an interview a year before, "It was natural for me to score. My success on the field was due to my quickness and ability to battle for every ball and shoot from different angles. Our coach (Geza) Henni alway told the team 'give the ball to Andy, he'll score, and we'll win'."
In the return match held on April 18, 1963 at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, New York, CD Oro was determined to avoid elimination and force a series-deciding playoff. The Mexican side had a 2:1 lead with 10 minutes remaining, when Mate netted his second goal of the game, giving NY Hungaria a 2:2 draw and a berth into the second round.
It would be another 48 years until a U.S. club would win on Mexican soil during a CONCACAF tournament when FC Dallas topped Pumas UNAM, 1:0, on August 17, 2011.
NY Hungaria's 1963 CONCACAF tournament run ended in the second round as it was eliminated by Chivas. After holding the defending confederation champion scoreless in the first-leg at Gaelic Park (May 16,1963), Guadalajara won the second leg, 2:0, a month later (June 13, 1963) at the El Pedredal Stadium.
Mate, who would make an international appearance with the U.S. Men's National Team the following year, finished tied for first on the 1963 Champions' Cup scoring chart alongside Salomon Santvil, who played with eventual tournament winner Racing Club Haitien of Haiti (five goals each).
Mate is third from the left in the back row. Photo source Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
1963 New York Hungaria SC Roster
Goalkeepers: Sandor Feher, Victor Gerley;
Defenders: John Kerti, Tibor Resznecki, Domokos Zsido;
Midfielders: Dietrich Albrecht, Miklos Henni, Andrew Mate, Jossef Pal, Tibor Szalay;
Forwards: Arpad Bugard, Joseph Csabay, Andy Cziotka, Tony Domborovski, Chales Horvath.
Coach: Geza Henni
Authored by Steven Torres