By Jay Mwamba

First Division


2017-09-13  Still on cloud nine after bagging two national titles last month, three-time league champions Lansdowne Bhoys kicked off the 2017-2018 CSL season with a bang last Saturday night. The Yonkers Irish defeated promotion side Central Park Rangers 4-1 at Tibbetts Brook Park.

Joseph Lopez scored the Bhoys’ first league goal as U.S. amateur kings when he scrambled home an Anthony Grant cross [35th] at the back post.  Ovan Oakley doubled the lead shortly afterward with a fine shot to the bottom right corner.

The Bhoys stepped it up in the second half, with Daryl Kavanagh and Lukas Zarges springing Oakley for the third goal. He struck from 20 yards

Kavanagh, a former League of Ireland standout back home, scored the fourth.

“It was fitting the fourth goal came from Kavanagh who worked his socks off all night,” said Lansdowne president William McGrory.

His side up 4-0, Lansdowne gaffer Austin Friel made several change as his lads took their collective foot off the gas.

CPR responded with an Alex Presciutti consolation [70th] off Idy Watt's assist.

Said McGrory: “Coach Friel was upset with the 10 minutes of complacency. But overall, he was happy with our first game after a marathon 2016-2017 season that only ended two weeks earlier with the Bhoys becoming the first CSL team to do the national double, and only the third team in America to claim that achievement.”

“I thought the [scoreline] was harsh,” said CPR’s Eli Vovsha. “We competed well but then gifted them the goals.”

Lansdowne won three consecutive CSL First Division titles before being denied a fourth championship last June.

Still, they went on a trophy haul in other competitions. The haul included the U.S. Amateur Cup, the USASA Werner Fricker Open Cup, the Manning State Cup, a sixth CSL division [regular season] title, and both Region 1 crowns in the U.S. Amateur Cup and Fricker Cup.

Sean Kenny made a winning debut as Lansdowne reserve team manager as his seconds mauled CPR ‘B’ 4-0. Danny Sepiora, Oswaldo Valencia [two], and Steveen Reynaldo scored.

Former Lansdowne midfielder Stephen Roche converted a last gasp penalty [90th] for nine-man New York Greek Americans in a dramatic 3-3 tie with Cedar Stars Academy at the Metropolitan Oval

The late leveler for the CSL champs came some two minutes after Hani Naser had fired in what seemed to be Cedar’s winner [88th].

Shaun Foster and Colin Murphy had connected earlier for the Greeks, before both were ejected in the second half for dangerous play and dissent, respectively.  Paul Nittoli struck twice for the visitors.

“Great game,” remarked Cedar boss Oliver Papraniku.

His reserves won 2-0, courtesy of Brian Bartichek and Ben Marcu.

On Randalls Island, Pancyprian Freedoms – who were stunned 2-0 by Greek Americans in the CSL championship game last season – also needed a late equalizer to salvage a 3-3 tie with Zum Schneider.

Kostas Meleties was the Pancyprian hero, much to Zum’s chagrin after a blinder of a debut by Willya Mekolo. The central defender broke the proverbial ice early with a pile driver, and after Andreas Chronis had leveled, restored the Germans’ lead with another close range blast. 

Andreas Iosifides got Pancyprian’s second equalizer as the game headed to an explosive end.

Zum’s Aladgi Kourouma raced down the flank, cut into the box and laid the ball to Jesus Gonzales. The latter swiveled into space despite the presence of four defenders and chipped home [75th].

Meleties, however, would deny Zum a memorable start to the season.

“That's soccer. I thought we deserved the win,” insisted Alexander Berscheid, Zum director of sports. “All in all it was a great match to watch from the sideline!”

In the curtain raiser, Caesar Lopez and Brendan Neal [two] scripted the Zum reserves’ 3-1 victory.

New York Athletic Club, a seven-time CSL champion, showed some of its old moxie in a 4-2 come-from-behind win over the Shamrocks on Travers Island.

Forward James Whyte had the Rocks 2-0 up at one point, his second effort from a Kwesi Mills-Odoi cross.

Kevin Meyer threw NYAC a lifeline before the interval to cut the deficit.

On resumption, Kevin Strunk and Jason Lampkin [two] completed NYAC’s comeback.

The Rocks’ second unit prevailed 2-0 over First Division Reserve champs NYAC ‘B.’ Alex Wasilewski and Conner Lachenbruch scored.

A second half collapse against Doxa FC marked Manhattan Kickers’ return to the top flight after three years in the second tier.

Up 3-0 at the interval, with Toric Robinson and Brian Morris among its scorers, the promotion side conceded as many times on resumption at Joseph F. Fosina Field.

“[Coach] Paul Grafas adjusted the lineup offensively bringing in George Najim, Enrique Hidalgo and Juan Ramirez off the bench and changing the game completely in our favor,” noted manager Foti Bouklis.

Hidalgo crossed for Patrick Alvarez to score and captain Kareem Joachim pumped in a free kick before Nick Von Egypt volleyed in the equalizer.

In the opener, Peter Tsioumas’ center to Panagitotis Apostolis was turned into the net by a Kicker defender for the only goal of the match.

Second Division

Second Division Beyond FC’s early resistance on Randalls Island wilted in a 7-1 drubbing by a retooled CD Iberia side that began its 50th anniversary season in style.

The floodgates opened after Beyond [scorer] had cancelled out Guille’s opener for Iberia.

Jose Elias [two], Adrian, Ivan, Chello and Bekhzod took turns shaking the net.

“We worked hard in the off-season and are glad it's paid off,” said player-coach Chiki Vazquez.

“This Sunday was a great start but next we play Bill Marth's Hoboken which is always a tough match. It will be a good test for us,” added manager David Lago.

Iberia’s reserves snatched full points on Julio’s 1-0 winner.

Hoboken, Iberia’s next opponents, also turned on the style, blanking Panatha USA 4-0 at Laurel Hill Park.

Mark Roussey [51st, 81st], Eric Terzer [54th] and Jeff Natale [68th] were on target.

Hoboken ‘B’ rallied back from a goal down to triumph 3-1. Alex Wallin [62nd],

Liem Nguyen [73rd] and Sam Omouyci [86th] tallied.

A goal down at the interval, Sporting Astoria came out strong in the second half to dispatch NYPD FC 2-1 at Flushing Meadow Field.

Sporting had been punished earlier when Demetre Vernon scored off Jarroll "Mauricio" Zapata’s rushed goal kick. However, adjustments at the break paid dividends.

“The half time modifications to the lineup changed everything,” said Sporting manager Ed Romero. “With 23 minutes left we scored two goals. Up first was a solo effort by Magambie Fofana. The second was all hustle. On the break, Mohammed "Mo" Jalloh chased down a ball and then crossed it to our improvised striker Felix Pavon who followed the play to make it 2-1.”

Ken Fuller was Sporting’s MVP.

Sporting’s seconds slipped 1-0 on Shahariar Hasan’s strike for NYPD.

“Tough loss for the reserves,” said Romero. “It was an even affair but a mistake from our keeper cost us early.”

Francisco Chamorra had Sporting’s best chance to level but his 20-yard shot came off the woodwork.

Bobby Akumah [three] and player-coach Freddie Etsiakoh [two] starred for Bronx Supreme in a 5-0 thrashing of newcomers KidSuper Samba at McCarren Park.

The Samba second unit’s CSL bow, in contrast, was more joyful. They runoff 4-1 victors. 

Marco Charnas rallied Manhattan Celtic with a hat trick in a seesaw tussle with CPR Reds at Pier 40 that ended 4-3 in the Celts’ favor.

His bullet header put Celtic ahead but the Reds replied twice through Mike Lindley and big Donal O’Cofaigh, their Man of the Match, to take a 2-1 half time lead.

Charnas and Ben Gueye turned it around for the home side with Marco then completing his trey.  The Reds, however, refused to roll over and would pull one back through Hendrik DeRuiter.

Sean Southall and Eoghan Byrne had assists for Celtic.

Hunter Norte starred in the Reds’ 3-1 reserve victory, with two goals, one an elusive “Olympic” goal direct from a corner.  Trip Burke accounted for the other, while Ciaran Kohli-Lynch set up Scott Penco for Celtic’s lone response.

Promotion side Williamsburg International FC held their own in a 10-goal thriller with Polonia Gwardia at Bushwick Inlet that finished all square.

Mark Gallagher, just as prolific as he was in Williamsburg’s Metro One title run last season, netted the side’s first goal in the second tier. And when the Poles hit back twice to lead at half time, Kevin Ruppel pegged them back from Nick Mikolenko’s throw-in on the restart.

Three unanswered Polonia goals for a 5-2 lead might have killed off any promotion side, but no strangers to goal-fests, Williamsburg replied in kind.

A John Kaddo brace -- assisted by Chris Blivin and Gallagher – cut the deficit to 5-4 before Gallagher grabbed the equalizer.

“[And] WIFC nearly stole all three points at the end when Jordan O'Donaghue's stumbling effort drifted just wide!” exclaimed Charles von Rosenberg.

The Williamsburg reserves lost 2-0.

Putting their past opening day struggles in the CSL behind them, FC Japan got off to the perfect start this time around with a 2-1 stunner over New York Ukrainians on Randalls Island.

Gamil Yahya scored for Ukrainians, whose reserves had goals from Rageh Rageh and Rahail Khan in a 2-0 result.

Newcomers Malatyaspor USA made easy work of last season’s North group runner’s up Brishna blanketing them 7-0. Ex-Galatasary Engin Baytar scored 4 goals. John Aydogan, Yigit Erylidiz, and Muhammet Yesilyurt each contributed with a goal each.

Brishna took the reserve match 1-0.

Metro One

There was no similar outcome for Metro One promotion side NYC Metro Stars who crashed 4-1 to NYFC Iliria on Randalls.

Ergi Janku, Mohamed Bagagnan [two] and Elton Mone eclipsed Edison Calle’s newcomers.

“A tough welcome to the Metro One for Metro Stars,” lamented Calle, whose goal came from midfielder Landry Sanon.

In an early Metro One Irish derby, Lansdowne Bhoys posted a 2-0 win over the Shamrocks 1960 at Tibbetts Brook Park.

Seamus McDaid [70th] and debutant Brian Thornton [80th] scored.

Six different players were on target in Mr. Dennehy’s 8-0 rout of Ridgewood Romac on Staten Island.

Dave Sandifer, Andres Sole, Johnny Stocker, Daniel Cano [two], Jonathan Williamson [two] and Anatoliy Taranenko tallied. Cosmin Chis and the veteran Dani Ceabuca scored for Ridgewood.

Elsewhere in Metro One action, Greg David had the goal in BW Gottschee’s 4-1 defeat by FC Ulquini, the newcomers with Korabi FC connections.

We missed lots of chances and could have got a result,” observed John Ryding, whose side lost just one game en route to the Metro Two West title last season. “We missed a penalty at 3-1 down [that] killed our momentum.  Then we switched to three at the back to try and chase the game and it cost us the fourth.”

Metro Two

There was a flying start for Missile FC at Corporal Thompson Park where
Deportivo Sociedade were blown out 6-1.

Jeff Durosier struck four, with Jeff Louise and Ben Alexandre adding one apiece.

At Bushwick Inlet, Barnstonworth Rovers recovered an early Brooklyn Bound goal to prevail 5-1.

Kiko Florez crossed for Joaco Lynch to equalize. Lynch made it 2-1 off a Gustavo Garro center. Matt Donovan pounced on a rebound for the third. Jorge Espanol dribbled through for number four; and after Toby Obi had forced a turnover, he found Tim Hattori who iced it.

Abe Hammami and Edyson Salnave exchanged hat tricks in a duel between two talented two debutants, but it was the latter’s Flushing FC that edged it 4-3 at Flushing Meadow.

Abe Hammami drew first blood for Beyond FC only to be pegged back by Salnave, off James Gerbier’s pass.  Hammami scored again after the break only for Salnave, assisted by Andres Romero this time, to reciprocate. 

Enter Flushing youngster Jhalil Sallet who blasted the hosts ahead from 18 yards. The last two goals both came from the penalty spot, with Salnave and Hammami each converting to complete their respective hat tricks.

“We can say we started on the right foot,” quipped Flushing manager Ryan Wiedman.

Also in Metro Two, Badir Sherman and Patricio Guaiquil connected in SC Eintracht’s 3-2 loss to Homenetmen.

Other division winners were NYC Afganistan FC winning away at AO Brooklyn 4-2, Richmond County FC who welcomed FC Partizani back to the Metro 2 with a 9-1 goal fest, and NY Galicia who edged Gateway FC 2-1.

O30 Division

Johnny McGeeney was the other hat trick hero on opening day as the Shamrocks Over-30s held off Manhattan Celtic Bhoys 3-2 on Randalls Island.

Souleymane Diallo and Iurie Gajev were the Celtic scorers.

“We made it a lot harder on ourselves than it had to be when we went down after only a minute of the game,” said McCarry, whose side is gunning for a third title in four years.

Manhattan Celtic Legends, meanwhile, hammered CPR Old Boys 4-1 courtesy of Tal Sheynfeld [two] and Shaun Moemem [two].  Ernest Subah had the CPR consolation.

Pete Halkidis’s four goals paced Pancyprian Freedoms’ Over-30s to a 7-1 drubbing of CPR Orange on Randalls.

George Lesmes [two] and TasoPolydefkis, with a goal and an assist, also chipped in. Matt Olney had CPR’s face-saver.

Another of the Over-30 division’s Hellenic sides, NY Greek Americans, came up short in a 4-2 loss to Manhattan Kickers Premier at East River Park despite a first half lead.   

Running the midfield, Marko Loncar crafted Kickers’ leveler for Sam Wilhelm-Ross on resumption. Stu Kaiser made it 2-1 from Aaron Vernnad's corner and midway through, Nick Bill extended the lead, off Khouri Mullings’ assist [65th].

Mullings [89th] then secured the points after the Greeks had pulled one back.

At the Con Edison field,
Peter Todoric scored for CPR Grays’ in a 1-all tie with Megas Alexandros.

The last match of the division ended in a draw between Brooklyn Gunners and Hoboken FC 1912. Each scored a goal to remain level at one.

38 Division

Nedgy Nazon was another veteran player on fire on opening day with four goals in champion Cozmoz FC’s 5-1 romp over rookie side America FC 1927 at Bush Terminal Piers Park.

Leon Whyte also connected.

Manhattan Kickers Legends also produced a 5-1 win against Barnstonworth Old Boys at East River Park.

New boy Conor O'Donoghue [two], David James Stewart, Joe Whitman and John Balson, another debutant, tallied.  Jim Beck was the Old Boys scorer.

 “A very disappointing start to the season, Kickers were far more organized than we were,” conceded Rovers’ Dave Sheeran

Joining the five-star club were Manhattan Celtic Masters who shutout SC Eintracht by as many goals on Randalls Island. Andy Matheson, Pedro Borges [two], Victor Popovsky and Val Gurariy crafted the win. 

And the first all-Legends clash of the season in the CSL ended in a stalemate with CPR Legends tying the Shamrocks Legends 2-2, thanks to Simon McKeown. He canceled out goals by John Riordan and Paddy Geraghty on Randalls Island to earn CPR a share of the points.

 “A full squad was available for CPR for the first game of the season, with a few new faces recruited to bolster last season’s thin squad,” said coach Manohar Venkataraman.

Other division winners were Doxa FC Legends, winning 7-2 over Banatul SC and SC Gjoa who handed Barnstonworth Rovers Veterans their first loss of the season with a final score of 4-1








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