FIRST DIVISION: Week 4 Preview

By Ralph 'Onz'Chery

NY Shamrock S.C winger Alejandro Fritz looking to dribble past a Doxa S.C player. NY Shamrocks Images/ Dennis Schneider

 

Sept. 29th, 2017

 

The CSL’s first division have another exciting weekend ahead as powerhouses Lansdowne Bhoys and Cedar Stars Academy will collide at Tibbet Brook Park on Saturday night for a massive fixture, elsewhere four teams will hunt for their first victory of the young season: NY Pancyprian Freedoms, Central Park Rangers Whites, Zum Schneider F.C and Doxa S.C.

 

Lansdowne Bhoys [1-0-0, 5th] vs Cedar Stars Academy [1-0-2, 2nd] at Tibbet Brook Park Field 3 on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

 

Lansdowne Bhoys and Cedar Stars Academy's players taking a moment of silence. 

 

Round 4 will start with the most anticipated match-up as Lansdowne Bhoys welcome Cedar Stars Academy at Tibbet Brook Park Field 3 at 8:00 p.m.

“Lansdowne is always a huge game,” Cedar Stars head coach Oliver Papraniku said.  “We will look to play our top players to try and perform against the great Lansdowne team.”

CSA signed three players who competed for Lansdowne last year during the offseason: Sikele Sylvester, Karim Russell and Jonathan Okafor.

“I think playing your old team is always an added incentive to play well,” Papraniku said. “I'm sure our players will give the effort.”

Last time the Stars played Lansdowne they snapped the Bhoys’ historical 46-game unbeaten run in the league on April 29th, 2017.

“Yes, that was a great game, we came out on top that night,” Cedar’s coach said. “We plan on playing our potent offensive game and I'm sure the best team will win.”

CSA drew with NY Greek Americans and the Freedoms and defeated Shamrocks in their first three fixtures. Meanwhile, so far this season, the Bhoys conquered CPR, 4-1, in their lone league game, edged Brick Lions F.C, 2-1, in the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup qualifiers and won the one-day tournament, Walter Rapaglia Cup, by blanking NY Greeks 3-0 in the final.

Lansdowne forward Ovan Oakley was nominated Player of the Week on the opening round while Cedar striker Paul Nittoli bagged the accolade the second week.  

 

NY Pancyprian Freedoms [0-0-2, 7th] vs Central Park Rangers Whites [0-1-1, 9th] at St. John’s University Belson Stadium on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

 

As Lansdowne and Cedar are fighting to top each other in Yonkers, NY Pancyrian Freedoms and Central Park Rangers Whites will clash in Queens in seek of their first CSL win of the season.

CPR captain Devin Roche praised NY Pancyprains but expressed that he and his teammates are capable of racking a good result against them.

“Pancyprians are a quality side and a good test,” Roche said. “We will prepare better and execute better than last week [in a 2-2 draw with NY Athletic Club]. We learned a lot in the first two games playing top oppositions. If we stick to our plan and use our strengths we will take points away.”

 

Central Park Rangers Whites skipper Devin Roche. Central Park Rangers Whites Images

 

The promoted team drew with first placed NY Athletic Club, 2-2, last weekend.

“Drawing with NYAC did give us some confidence but it made us hungrier for the next match,” CPR’s skipper said. “It's uplifting to know we competed at a high level at NYAC but we want to win.”

He later added: “We know we can compete in the first division. Playing top teams right away is a steep curve but we've already picked up some points. We hope to improve our record quickly and we certainly have the squad to execute that plan.”

Central Park’s youngster Idy Watt is the reigning Player of the Week and the team’s star midfielder Mouni Kabore will return from injury on Saturday.

On the Freedoms’ end, the Queens-based club downed Newtown Pride F.C, 2-1, in the Open Cup qualifiers on Sunday and drew with Zum, 3-3, and with Cedar, 2-2, in their two opening CSL matches.

 

NY Shamrock S.C [1-2-0, 6th] vs Doxa S.C [0-1-1, 8th] at St. Michael’s Playground on Saturday at 8:00 p.m.

 

NY Shamrock S.C winger Alejandro Fritz looking to dribble past a Doxa S.C player. NY Shamrocks Images/ Dennis Schneider

 

The last 8:00 p.m. Saturday game is an outing between Shamrocks and Doxa at St. Michael’s Playground.

The Rocks lost two of their three CSL matches to NY Athletic, 4-2, and CSA, 3-1, but topped Zum Schneider, 2-1. The Irish-American team will be without the services of their 2016-17 top scorer Kwesi Mills-Odoi and starting center back Charles O’Loughlin due to injuries.

On a good note for Kevin Grogan’s men, their new signing James Whyte leads the league in scoring, tallying four goals in three games.

As for Shamrocks’ opponents, Doxa, the Greek-American team is looking for their first victory of the campaign as they drew with newcomers Manhattan Kickers, 3-3, on opening weekend and lost to champions NY Greeks, 1-0, last week.

 

Manhattan Kickers [1-1-1, 3rd] vs NY Greek Americans [1-0-1, 4th] at East River Park Field 2 Grand Street on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

 

NY Greek Americans players in a huddle. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis

 

Doxa’s countrymen, NY Greek Americans, will play their first away CSL game of the season as they travel to East River Park Field 2 Grand Street to take on Manhattan Kickers at 11:00 a.m.

The Greeks defeated Doxa, 1-0, last week after drawing with Cedar Stars, 3-3, on opening week. And outside of the league, Richard Nuttall’s men reached the Rapaglia Cup final on Sept. 10th, which they lost Lansdowne 3-0.

Greeks midfielder Stephen Roche converted a winning penalty kick last weekend against Doxa and a 90th minute game-tying spot kick in Week 1 against CSA.

The Kickers won their first game of the season on Sunday, blanking Zum Schneider, 3-0, away from home. A game in which player-coach Bryan Baracaldo earned honorable mention for player of the week for providing two assists.

 

NY Athletic Club [2-0-1, 1st] vs Zum Schneider F.C 03 [0-2-1, 10th] at Travers Island on Sunday at 12:00 p.m.

 

NY Athletic Club and Zum Schneider will close the round with a 12:00 p.m. Sunday game at Travers Island.

NY Athletic owns the current CSL top scorer Jason Lampkin, who scored four goals in three games.

And with the help of two ex-MLS center backs, Anthony Arena and Patrick Slogic, NYAC is having a promising start of the season, going undefeated in the first three rounds and sitting on top of the table with seven points. However Zum’s captain Yannick Diese is not intimidated by them.

“There is nothing special about NYAC,” Diese said.

Prior to that the midfielder stated: “You beat them the same way as you would beat any other team, score goals and stop them from scoring.”

Zum started their season with an inspiring 3-3 draw with NY Pancyprians but went on to losing to Shamrocks, 2-1, and to the Kickers, 3-0, last week.

Diese is keen to win his first CSL game of the season against NY Athletic.

“We are eager to get a win,” he said. “We think that we have just been unlucky in the start of the season but certainly things will change.”

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