NY Pancyprian Freedoms midfielder Jeff Matteo getting set to control the ball. Picture by Devaughn Clasp
By Ralph "Onz" Chery
May 4th, 2018
With three rounds to go in the CSL’s top division, none of the teams from the bottom half of the table are safe from relegation yet, which causes a nervy upcoming round this weekend. Eighth Zum Schneider F.C will go face to face against another club from the lower half of the table Manhattan Kickers on Saturday. Doxa will look to steal points against a club that hasn’t lost in domestic play in 11 matches, Cedar Stars Academy, in their relegation battle.
Sixth placed NY Athletic Club doesn’t have an easy opponent either in the next game of their relegation fight as they will travel to Tibbetts Brook Park Field 3 on Saturday to take on three-time CSL champions Lansdowne Bhoys. Meanwhile Central Park Rangers will host NY Pancyprian Freedoms at Randall’s Island Field 70.
Over at the top-half of the table, NY Shamrock SC needs to win their upcoming match versus NY Greek American to keep their chances to make the playoffs over the Greeks themselves alive.
NY Greek American (4th) vs NY Shamrock SC (5th) on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. at Metropolitan Oval
NY Greek American striker Tyler Botte alongside NY Shamrock SC captain Zachary Gosse. Picture by Dinos Avlonitits
The Rocks sit eight points below the last playoff spot under the Greeks hence a loss would snap their chance of clinching the playoff while a win will draw them five points closer with two games to go.
Shamrocks fullback Dan Giorgi noted how crucial the game versus NYGA is but also shared that the club is taking it one game at a time and not jumping to the forthcoming final playoff spots.
“We all know it’s a big game for both clubs and we all know what’s on the line,” Giorgi said, “but we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and get caught up in playoff talk. We are just focusing on the game at hand and getting a result. That’s always been our focus, to just win our next game.”
The Greeks are undefeated in the second half of the season while conceding only one goal. As for the Rocks they broke a four-game CSL non-winning run with a 1-0 win over NY Athletic Club last week.
Doxa SC (9th) vs Cedar Stars Academy (1st) on Sunday at 5:00 p.m. at Joseph F. Fosina Field
Doxa needs at least four points to escape the dropzone with four games left to go. After falling to Lansdowne 3-0 last weekend, Paul Grafas’ men will face another first-rate team, Cedar Stars Academy. The Stars haven’t lost in the league in nearly six months while carrying 10 consecutive clean sheets.
“They are flying high right now and we must try to grab at least a point from them,” Doxa midfielder Nick vonEgypt said. “We are in a difficult relegation battle right now, so every point counts. We can't sleep on their offensive side either. We have to be aware of [Christopher] Katona as he is posting multiple goals per game.”
VonEgypt also expressed that in order to break CSA’s clean sheet run he and his teammates would have to be thoroughly focused throughout the whole 90-minute.
“It takes extreme concentration from every individual player to break down a defense that has posted 10 consecutive clean sheets,” the midfielder said. “Our touches need to be clean and we need to move the ball quickly to get their defense out of position. We have to hope that the ball rolls our way and the calls go our way as well.”
Doxa scored in five of their six matches at home in the league this season.
Manhattan Kickers (10th) vs Zum Schneider F.C. (8th) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at Randall’s Island Field 74
Zum’s encounter versus the Kickers will be the only game that will feature two teams from the bottom-half-of the table this weekend. Manhattan is on 12-CSL game winless streak, however they blanked ZSFC 3-0 the last time they faced them in the league on Sept. 24th, 2017.
"That's the kind of result that you don't forget,” Zum’s top scorer Kyle Green said.
Zum conceded 10 goals in their last three games while going scoreless.
“The past couple games we've felt like a German Shepherd backed into a corner,” Green said about the club’s recent results, “however in this case both teams are fighting off relegation, so I expect it to be a feisty dog fight."
He previously stated: “At this point in the season and with where we're at each game is extremely important. Given where we're at in the table, it's a six-point game and we got to get a win.”
Despite both clubs being at the lower half of the standings, they have one player each in the top 10 scorers chart.
Green and Manhattan’s forward Brian Morris are in seventh place in the top scorers list with six goals.
Manhattan Kickers striker Brian Morris.
Lansdowne Bhoys (2nd) vs NY Athletic Club (6th) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at Tibbetts Brook Park Field 3
NY Athletic Club is five points above the relegation zone. The club’s head coach Erik Bagwell shared that the teams needs to rack more points in their last three outings to ensure their stay in the top division next season.
“We're in an okay position in the standings above the dropzone right now but we definitely need a few more points in these last 3 matches to keep a comfortable cushion,” Bagwell said.
NYAC’s next game is against amateur champions Lansdowne. NY Athletic forced a 3-2 win out of the Bhoys the last two times they played them.
Bagwell expressed how crucial discipline will be in their match versus the Irish club.
“My hope is that we stay disciplined and play for the entirety of the 90 plus minute match,” he said. “Our biggest problem has been ourselves this season. We've given up very soft, preventable goals in most of our matches especially early in matches, which speaks to our focus and preparedness, which also has not been stellar. If we can be better at these things we'll have a decent result on Saturday.”
The Bhoys are 3-2-1 in the second half of the season. A Lansdowne player to keep an eye on throughout the match is Mamadou Guirassy as he netted five goals in his last three domestic games for Lansdonwe.
Central Park Rangers (7th) vs NY Pancyprian Freedoms (6th) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at Randall’s Island Field 70
Promoted side Central Park Rangers is hosting CSL powerhouse NY Pancyprian Freedoms at Randall’s Island Field 70 on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.
CPR player-coach Eli Vovsha voiced that his side has what it takes to draw points from the Freedoms.
“We've competed well against all the top teams in the spring, so the objective for this weekend isn't different,” Vovsha said. “We have the quality and the experience in the squad now to get points, not just play well. If we shut down their attacking midfielders, [Daniel] Bedoya, [Adam] Himeno, we can expose some of their weaknesses.”
Central Park Rangers player-coach Eli Vovsha. Picture by Andrew Faherty
Bedoya tallied seven CSL goals and eight assists while Himeno scored nine goals and racked five assists.
The Freedoms blanked the Kickers 3-0 in their last game. The Cypriot club’s only CSL loss of the season was to first placed Cedar Stars Academy, 3-0.