NY Shamrock SC center back Zachary Gosse pointing. NY Shamrocks Images
Nov. 25th, 2017
*NY Pancyprian Freedoms versus NY Shamrock SC was rescheduled to Dec. 12th at St. John's University Belson Stadium at 8 p.m.
The CSL’s first division went low on games this weekend but high on quality. Only two matches will be played but not just any two matches, two of the league's top fixtures. CSL champions NY Greek Americans will host Lansdowne Bhoys at the Met Oval on Sunday at 8:00 p.m. and last year’s finalists NY Pancyprian Freedoms will welcome NY Shamrock SC on Sunday as well.
Here are five things that make this weekend’s two matches top-notch fixtures:
1. Last year’s semifinals rematch
This week’s two outings is a replay of last year’s semifinal round. The Freedoms downed Shamrocks in penalties after a 3-3 draw in last season’s semis at the Rocks’s home, St. Michael’s Playground.
NY Pancyprian Freedoms players celebrating the penalty kick win over NY Shamrock SC in last year's semifinals. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
Sunday will be the first time the two teams will play each other since last season's playoffs.
Lansdowne versus NY Greeks was the other semifinal. NYGA edged the Bhoys 1-0 through Colin Murphy’s goal.
2. Another episode of the Bhoys and NY Greeks’ rivalry
When the Greeks revitalized their roster with a mass signing that included five ex-Lansdowne players last year during the winter break it triggered the most electrifying rivalry of the CSL.
The Greeks got the best out of the amateur champions in their first game after their mass singing, slimming past the Bhoys 1-0 in last season's semifinals. Lansdowne got their revenge three months later as they blanked NY Greeks 3-0 in the Rapaglia Cup final (NY Greeks was missing most of their starters).
In their last meeting, NYGA knocked the Bhoys out of the National Amateur Cup by inching past them 7-6 in PKs after a scoreless draw.
The two sides already have another date set up after Sunday’s encounter, the Werner Fricker Open Cup ENY final, which will be played in the spring.
3. Pancyprian and Shamrocks will fight to get back to winning ways against each other
A gameshot of a match between NY Shamrock SC and NY Pancyprian Freedoms at St. John's University Belson Stadium. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
The Freedoms and the Rocks both fell out of their non-losing run in their last game. NY Greeks broke NY Pancyprian’s 12-game unbeaten run in all competitions this season by beating them 3-1 on Tuesday.
Shamrocks on the other hand snapped a six-game unbeaten run last week as they lost to Lansdowne 3-1 in the league.
Rocks head coach Kevin Grogan and NY Pancyprian coach Stratis Mastrokyriakos will hope lead their players out of their slump against each other on Sunday.
The Freedoms are undefeated in the league in eight outings.
4. Can Lansdowne cool Botte down?
NY Greek Americans forward Tyler Botte in a game against NY Serbia (LISFL). Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
NY Greeks striker Tyler Botte scored five goals in his last two matches, two against Central Park Rangers Whites in the league and three against the Freedoms in the Fricker Cup.
Lansdowne will look to end Botte’s scoring run on Sunday. The Irish team has the most impenetrable defense in the CSL, conceding 1.6 goals per game in all competitions.
5. In-form Bedoya take on the Rocks’ defense
NY Pancyprian Freedoms midfielder Daniel Bedoya. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
While Lansdowne fight to close down Botte, their compatriots will look to force a quiet night out of the former NY Red Bulls II midfielder Daniel Bedoya. Bedoya has been the Freedoms most influential player this season, tallying five goals and five assists in eight CSL matches.
Shamrocks let in six goals in their last three CSL matches.