Cedar Stars return from winter break with a 3-0 victory over CPR

By Ralph 'Onz' Chery

Cedar Stars Academy players after their 3-0 win over Central Park Rangers Whites.

 

By Ralph "Onz" Chery | @onz_11

March 19th, 2018

 

Game Report

Cedar Stars Academy came back from a four-month winter break with a convincing 3-0 win against Central Park Rangers Whites away at Randall’s Island Field 70.

The Stars started the match without three key players from the first half of the season: center back Hani Nasr, the league’s top scorer Christopher Katona and defender Matthew Jeffery.

Central Park was the most dangerous side in the opening minutes, leading Cedar Stars in shots 4-3 in the first 15 minutes. CPR’s best look at goal then was when an unmarked Bucky Aronoff skied the ball over the net from the box in the sixth minute.

Aronoff’s shot was followed by a couple of long ranger from Mouni Kabore and Eli Vovsha that were inches from finding the target.

 

Central Park Rangers midfielder Mouni Kabore's 16th minute shot from distance curled just past the net. Central Park Rangers Images/ Andre Faherty

 

Meanwhile for the Stars, Micheal Olla was the club’s most efficient shooter early in the game, whipping two shots from distance off frame.

Shortly before the 15-minute mark, Cedar’s head coach Oliver Papraniku subbed in the three valuable players aforementioned, Nasr, Katona and Jeffery alongside new signing Walter Calderon, a former NY Red Bulls youth player.

The Stars slowly started to build momentum. Katona almost gave the CSL Indoor Champions the lead in the 27th minute, hammering an uncontested shot inside the 18 high toward the net but straight at keeper Timothy Doheny, who palmed the ball over the goal.

Calderon also came close to net the opener a couple plays later as he beamed a shot from outside the 18 on the crossbar.

Cedar eventually broke the deadlock five minutes before halftime. Katona started the opening goal with an intelligent through ball to Calderon down the left wing. After dribbling down the flank, Calderon found Olla in the box with an inch perfect cross. Olla topped the play with a smooth finish past keeper Doheny.

Cedar Stars established a safe two-goal lead later in the 66th minute as Katona directed Sammy Gehman’s exquisite in-swinging cross to the lower left corner of the net.

The Stars almost extended their lead to three five minutes later. Jeffery’s header was making its way in the net, but fortunately for the home team Souleymane Bah was standing by the goalpost and headed the ball away.

Papraniku’s men wouldn’t level up to three goals until the 86th minute when Sikele Sylvester banged a shot in the net inside the box from Matthew Nigro’s low-cross.

CSA keeper Bryan Lopez performed a breathtaking triple-save in the 88th minute from a couple of CPR shots from about eight yards out and a last attempt by Justin Dotzman from a tight angle.

 

Four key notes

1. CPR’s top scorer was out: Central Park Rangers were without their top scorer James Greco, who was suspended for picking up a red card the previous week.

 

Central Park Rangers midfielder James Greco. Central Park Rangers Images/ Andrew Faherty

 

2. Flying high: Cedar Stars is on a six-game winning run in the CSL, in which they haven’t conceded a goal in their last five matches.

3. Three-three-three: Cedar Stars Academy defeated Central Park Rangers Whites 3-0 the last three times they played them in the league.

4. Katona’s addicted to goals: Katona scored in each of Cedar Stars last four games in the CSL, tallying 12 goals in his previous four league-games.

 

Players' voice: Christopher Katona (1 goal)

 

Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Christopher Katona [right] during a coin toss before a game against NY Pancyprian Freedoms. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Cedar Stars Academy Christopher Katona was selected as the Man of the Match. Katona started the Stars' first goal with a through ball and netted the one.

“I feel like I played horrible,” the midfielder said when asked about his performance. “I feel like I was just sluggish. I got taken out in the first half on my ankle so it took a little bit of time to get back into the rhythm.

“But especially with such a great team around me it felt good to be able to finish and contribute to the team. It makes it a lot easier when you have such good talents around to put a good ball in and all you got to do is focus on making a good touch and finishing the ball.”

Sunday’s match was CSA’s first game after the winter break.

“We came out a little sluggish in regards to our first performance [back from the break],” Katona said. “We expected that though being four months off is a long time especially with the winter season. Three-nothing just to get a game out under our belt, it felt good to get back out there on the field with all the guys and be able to perform.”

Cedar Stars’ next game is against league toppers Lansdowne Bhoys. Katona expressed how vital his side’s win over CPR is in their upcoming game against Lansdowne.

“It’s definitely a good start, just to at least get one game—because last week’s game [versus NY Pancyprian Freedoms] got cancelled—but at least get one game going in the big game with Lansdowne,” the former Stockton University player said.

“They’re at first place right now, we’re at second, it’s definitely crucial to get out there and give a good performance at home for the first seed. We’re going to take this in preparation for next Sunday, we’re looking forward to playing against them.”

 

Statistics

Central Park Rangers Whites

Shots (on target): 14 (4)

Saves: 5 (keeper Timothy Doheny)

Fouls: 9

Yellow cards: 3 (Mouni Kabore, Justin Dotzman, Ryan Geswell)

Red cards: 0

Offsides: 1

Corners: 3

 

Cedar Stars Academy

Shots (on target): 21 (8)

Saves: 4 (keeper Bryan Lopez)

Fouls: 8

Yellow cards: 0

Red cards: 0

Offsides: 3

Corners: 6

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