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NY Hungaria's Andy Mate looks back at 1963 CONCACAF Champions' Cup
When FC Dallas defeated host Pumas UNAM (1-0) in a CONCACAF Champions League encounter at Mexico City's Estadio Olímpico Universitario on August 17, 2011, it was the first time that a club from the United States won a confederation tournament match in Mexico since 1963.
The last (and also the first) team to achieve this historic feat on Mexican soil was New York Hungaria SC, which defeated CD Oro, 3-2, during the first-leg of the 1963 CONCACAF Champions' Cup opening round at Guadalajara's Estadio El Pedregal in front of a crowd of 35,000 spectators (March 18, 1963).
"It was a full stadium, which was very unusual for us as we normally, at the most, played in front of 2,000," said former midfielder and club's leading scorer Andrew "Andy" Mate."It was a big thing for us as we were amateurs compared to the Mexican side (CD Oro) who had professionals.
"They didn't acknowledge us as players and underestimated us, which worked to our advantage on the field."
Indeed it did, as the Hungarian-born Mate led NY Hungaria to victory over the 1962/63 Mexican champion by scoring all three goals and registering the third-ever hat-trick (first by a USA player) in Champions' Cup history.
NY Hungaria was a member of the German American Soccer League (GASL), founded in 1923 as a semi-professional/amateur circuit and comprised of teams located in the New York City area. In 1977, the league was renamed to what it is known as today: the Cosmopolitan Soccer League.
In Mexico, CD Oro struck first in the opening 10 minutes through Gustavo Peña, before Mate leveled the score in the 18th minute.
After Amaury Epaminondas (33rd) fired CD Oro into a 2-1 lead just before halftime, Mate once again drew NY Hungaria even with his second tally in the 54th minute.
Then, with two minutes left on the clock, Mate struck for the game-winner, completing the scoreline for what proved to be an significant result.
"It was natural for me to score," recalls Mate, who settled in the U.S. in 1957."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 always told the team 'give the ball to Andy, he'll score, and we'll win'."
In the return match (April 18, 1963) at Gaelic Park in the Bronx, New York, CD Oro was determined to avoid elimination and force a series-deciding playoff.It had a 2-1 lead with 10 minutes remaining, when the clutch Mate netted his second goal of the game, giving NY Hungaria a 2-2 draw and a second-round berth.
"We had the experience of playing against professional teams prior to our visit to Mexico as we faced German and Danish clubs in New York City," added the 72-year-old Mate, who currently spends his time traveling between New Jersey and Hungary."Also, a few of us from NY Hungaria were chosen the year before (1962) to be part of a USA Select Team that toured the Middle East (posted 12-2-4 record against local clubs).
"You can say we were ready for the challenge at the CONCACAF club tournament, which made our visit to Mexico a good one with priceless memories."
Founded in 1920, NY Hungaria was a five-time GASL champion and qualified for the 1963 CONCACAF tournament by capturing the USA's National Challenge Cup (now called US Open Cup) in 1962.
After eliminating New York Giuliana (first round), Newark Portuguese (quarterfinals) and the Philadelphia Ukrainian Nationals (semifinals), NY Hungaria defeated the San Francisco Scots,3-2, in the 1962 final.Mate, once again, led the club's offense, scoring two of the team's three goals.
Mate recalled: "Back then, there was huge rivalry between the clubs from the Northeast (Boston), the East coast, Midwest (Chicago, St. Louis) and West coast on who had the better players in the country.So, when teams competed in the National Challenge Cup, it was their chance to show who was the best in the USA and, in 1962, we (NY Hungaria) proved it."
NY Hungaria's 1963 CONCACAF tournament run ended in the second round, eliminated by CD Guadalajara of Mexico.
After holding the defending confederation champion scoreless in the first-leg at Gaelic Park (May 16, 1963), the Mexican side won the second leg, 2-0, a month later (June 13, 1963) at the Estadio El Pedredal.
"They (CD Guadalajara) played a good game as they were ready for us compared to CD Oro," Mate commented."They were defending champions of the region and proved it against us, so they deserved to win."
After earning an international appearance for the U.S. national team in 1964 (v England), Mate continued his club career. He saw action with West Germany's Hamburger SV (1964-65) and, eventually, joined the New York Cosmos for its inaugural season (1971) in the USA's North American Soccer League.
Mate returned to the Cosmopolitan Soccer League to once again suit up for NY Hungaria before he closed out his career with the New York Greek American AA at the age of 41.
In the 48 years following that series between NY Hungaria and CD Guadalajara, despite the efforts of 24 teams from seven different leagues (Divisions I, II, III, Semi-Professional, Amateur), clubs from the U.S. were unable to achieve victory in Mexico.That was until Marvin Chavez of Honduras ended the drought by scoring the game's only goal in FC Dallas' 2011/12 Champions League triumph over Pumas.
"I was not surprised when the streak ended as I know it was going to happen sooner or later," Mate said about the success of FC Dallas."I always followed the CONCACAF club tournaments and I'm finally glad the USA clubs are improving internationally and making their mark in the region."
NOTES: Mate finished tied for first on the 1963 Champions' Cup scoring chart with Salomón Santvil, who played with eventual tournament winner Racing Club Haitien of Haiti (five goals each).It would be the last time that a player from U.S. would finish as the Champions' Cup scoring champion until Roy Lassiter of D.C. United accomplished the feat in 1998 with six tallies.
USA's New York Hungaria SC Roster - 1963 CONCACAF Champions' Cup
GOLKEEPERS: Sandor Feher, Victor Gerley
DEFENDERS: John Kerti, Tibor Resznecki, Domokos Zsido
MIDFIELDERS: Dietrich Albrecht, Miklos Henni, Andrew Mate, Josef Pal, Tibor Szalay
FORWARDS: Arpad Bugard, Joseph Csabay, Andy Cziotka, Tony Domborovski, Charles Horvath
TD: Geza HENNI
1963 Champions' Cup Results
10.03: RKV SITHOC (ANT) - Racing Club Haitien (HAI) 1:3
17.03. Racing Club Haitien (HAI) - RKV SITHOC (ANT) 1:0
18.03: CD Oro (MEX) - New York Hungaria (USA) 2:3
18.04: New York Hungaria (USA) - CD Oro (MEX) 2:2
28.04: CD Vida (HON) - Xelaju MC (GUA) 2:2
05.05: Xelaju MC (GUA) - CD Vida (HON) 6:0
28.04: Deportivo Saprissa (CRC) - CD F.A.S. (SLV) 1:1
05.05: CD F.A.S. (SLV) - Deportivo Saprissa (CRC) 0:2
16.05: New York Hungaria - CD Guadalajara (MEX) 0:0
13.06: CD Guadalajara (MEX) - New York Hungaria 2:0
07.07: Xelaju MC - Racing Club Haitien 1:4
14.07: Racing Club Haiten - Xelaju MC 1:3
17.07: Xelaju MC - Racing Club Haiten 1:2
14.08: Deportivo Saprissa - CD Guadalajara 0:1
18.08: CD Guadalajara - Deportivo Saprissa 2:0
CD Guadalajara withdrew, Racing Club Haitien declared winners
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