Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Christopher Katona during a coin toss. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery
May 24th, 2017
Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Christopher Katona was selected Player of the Week for the fifth time this season after scoring a hat trick and providing two assists in his side's 5-0 win over NY Athletic Club.
Katona finished the 2017-18 regular season with the most Player of the Weeks award followed by NY Pancyprian Freedoms wide midfielder Adam Himeno, who tallied three.
Cedar Stars midfielder Matthew Nigro praised Katona for his high game IQ after his hat trick versus NYAC.
"Chris is a very experienced player. He knows where to be at the right time and finds himself in great areas around the goal," Nigro said.
Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Matthew Nigro in his time with William Paterson University. William Paterson University Images
Nigro started Katona's first goal as he pressed NY Athletic's midfield and caused them to give the ball away; he then hit a smooth pass to Jonathan Okafor. Okafor played a through ball to Katona, who one timed a shot from the top of the box to the right far post.
Nigro assisted Katona's second goal. The American beat a NYAC defender after receiving an intelligent pass from Nigro then placed the ball to the bottom right corner of the net from the top of the box.
Katona also scored his third goal from Nigro's pass.The former William Paterson University player unleashed a 40-yard pass to Katona, who was intially dispossessed by the opposing keeper but pounced back at the ball to hit a shot to the right corner of the net from the six-yard box.
"Chris made an intelligent run, I just wanted to let him run into space behind the back line," Nigro said about his goal-pass to Katona. "I try my best to help provide these guys opportunities in front of goal and they do very well to finish them."
The 26-year-old didn't only direct his teammates to the goal, he had a goal himself as well versus NY Athletic, beaming a shot from about 25-yard out in the net from Katona's pass.
"It felt good to be amongst the goals for once," the midfielder said. "I struck the ball well and it felt good seeing it go in."
Katona's second assist was to youngster Walter Calderon. The 27-year-old rolled the ball in the box to Calderon, who whipped a left footed shot to the near left post.
Walter Calderon netted versus NY Athletic Club from Christopher Katona's pass. Picture by Christopher Katona
Katona closed the regular season with a league best of 26 goals after his hat trick. In his previous match he netted an equalizer versus NY Greek American. Nigro noted how crucial Katona's scoring ability has been for the club.
"His [Katona's] goal scoring record has gotten us out of some tough games and helped us move up the table," he said.
The former Richard Stockton College player also leads the league in assist with just one game to go in the regular season (Manhattan Kickers vs Zum Schneider F.C), sending his teammates on goal 23 times in 17 appearances.
Katona's next match with CSA is a CSL semifial clash versus NY Greeks on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. at Capelli Sport Complex.