After Monday night’s result game in The Cosmopolitan Soccer League Division 1 final was set. The top seed New York Pancyprian-Freedoms will be looking for their eighth league title against the second seed Cedar Star Academy looking for its' first. During the regular season The Freedoms swept the two meetings between the teams, first in a close contest in the fall, 4-3, before winning the April contest at home by multiple goals, 3-0.
Both teams had to face off against other teams to reach this point with both also representing a league well-known and side looking for its first ever championship.
Here’s the semifinal recap:
Sunday, June 2
(No. 1) NY Pancyprian Freedoms v. (No. 4) NY Shamrock SC (4-0)
The New York Pancyprian-Freedoms advanced into the final after beating the fourth seeded NY Shamrocks SC, 4-0, on Sunday night. With four unique goal scorers the team reaffirmed that it had multiple offensive threats at its’ disposal during its’ home match at St. Johns University.
The team started the game off well enough when Lukas Ostermann intercepted a pass that was intended for the Rocks’ keeper. His one on one with said keeper ended when he chipped the ball over and into the net for the game’s first goal.
The Rocks struggled to keep the Freedoms out of their end and despite having chances to even the score early the constant pressure lead to multiple set pieces and eventual results. Jimmy Nealis assisted on his fourth goal of the year and first in the playoffs when his scorned kick found the head of Simon Tchoukriel before hitting the back of the net.The third goal also came off a corner kick when Andreas Iosifidi made the difficult angle shot by putting the ball directly into the net.
With the game nearly out of reach the Rocks tried valiantly to get back into the game but the Freedoms defense barred any real look at goal. The team’s leading scorer this season, and third best league wide, Adam Himeno finished his team’s night when he recovered his own shot off the post before sending it in.
The Freedoms’ Technical Director Panayiotis Onisiforou noted that the team were proud of how far they’ve come and know there’s one more challenge to face.
“Facing Cedar Stars in the final is exciting,” he said. “We are two attacking teams (and) I’m sure it will be a great game. It’s first vs second we have both earned the right over the (season) to be there, it’s one game now.:
Monday, June 3
(No. 2) Cedar Stars Academy v. (No. 3) NY Greek Americans (1-1) (4:1 on PK)
The second seeded Cedar Star Academy had a closer match then their finals foe as the team advanced via penalty kicks over the third seed NY Greek Americans, 1-1 (4-1 on penalties). The team returns the final for the second year in-a-row following last seasons’ defeat at the hands of Lansdowne Yonkers FC,
Despite being injured the Greeks goalkeeper Bradley Johnson came up big for his team during the 90 minutes to keep them in it. In the first 15 minutes the Stars’ Chris Katona had a one-on-one chance against Johnson who was able to block it away to keep the game level
Cedar Star started the match with more chances but as the half went on NYGA began to win the ball back more consistently. More intercepted passes and stolen balls allowed the Greeks to put pressure on Stars keeper Derby Carrillo but they, nor CSA, could find the back of the net.
During the break Cedar head coach Austin Friel changed his team’s formation from a 3-4-3 to a 4-4-2 to try and persuade the Cedar Star player to possess the ball more and use the width of the field. This paid off nearly immediately as Katona found Chris Riordan in the 48th minute on a break. The latter slammed a left footed shot past the keeper for the first goal of the game.
While the lead sat firmly with CSA, the momentum swung towards the Greeks as they began to push up for the equalizer. It came in the 68th when Tyler Botte, the team’s leading scorer, fell in the box. While the ball was still alive, he recovered and struck it into the left corner passed a stunned Carrillo to tie the game.
With regulation time finished and no winner decided, the teams hurried into kicks as the stadium lights were set to go out. Carrillo didn’t need to do much to make up for his error as both the Greeks’ first two shot takers shot over the crossbar to open the contest. Despite the third attempt being good it didn’t matter as all four CSA kickers made their shots count including Katona who sealed the win with a shot straight down the middle.
With their opponents in the crowd watching, Cedar Star will look to avenge last seasons loss and win its first ever CSL D1 title this Sunday on Randalls Island.