Cedar Stars Academy and Lansdowne Bhoys players before the kickoff of their game on Sunday night at Montclair State University.
By Ralph "Onz" Chery |@onz_11
March 26th, 2018
Cedar Stars almost scored the opener two minutes into the game as Walter Calderon steered a low shot past the left goalpost after a poor giveaway from the Bhoys in the back.
CSA came close to taking the lead again from another poor pass in the back from their opposition in the sixth minute. This time Calderon looked to be the provider as he sent Lucas Terci on goal with a square pass. Fortunately for Lansdowne, their keeper Abdoukarim Danso came off line to block Terci’s shot.
The home team eventually scored the match’s first goal in the 14th minute. Center back Chris Riordan unleashed a long ball that Terci headed down toward Calderon. The 21-year-old penetrated the Bhoys’ box with a couple of neat touches before rolling a shot to the bottom right corner of the net away from Danso.
Christopher Katona doubled CSA’s lead later in the 45th minute. Matthew Nigro spotted Calderon down the left flank with diagonal ball. The El Salvador native bolted down the line before sending a low-cross in the box that Katona tapped in the net from the six-yard box.
Lansdowne uncharacteristically only took three shots in the first half. The Irish club’s best look at the goal in the first period was when Craig Purcell paced in CSA’s box from the left wing on a counter but only to rush a shot straight at keeper Bryan Lopez.
The Bhoys’ head coach Austin Friel subbed three attacking players after the restart: the league’s second top scorer Ovan Oakley, former Suffolk County College star striker Joseph Lopez and 2017 MLS Draftpick Mamadou Guirassy.
Cedar’s defense stayed disciplined and compact to prevent a Lansdowne comeback. The only time the amateur champions’ hit a shot on frame in the second half was in the 54th minute when Lukas Zarges curled a low-shot toward the bottom left corner of the net which forced keeper Lopez to dive on his right to make a save.
On a flip note, CSA scored their third goal 10 minutes before time. Katona pushed the ball to Calderon down the left wing. The in-form youngster swifted to the top of the box then lifted an inch perfect pass to Samuel Gehman who was charging in the 18 from the opposite flank. Gehman blasted Calderon’s pass in the net away from keeper Danso.
Four key notes
1. Repeat of last year: Cedar Stars also gave Lansdowne their first league-loss of the season last year, downing the Irish club 2-1 on April 29th, 2017. CSA is the only team that beat the Bhoys twice in the league in the past four years.
2. Does CSA remember what getting scored on look like?: Cedar Stars haven’t conceded a goal in six matches. The club owns the best defense in the league, giving up nine goals in 11 outings.
3. Good defense leads to good offense: The Stars scored at least three goals in each of their last six games. They have the best offense in the league, tallying 38 goals in 11 games.
4. This win gives CSA a chance to mount over the Bhoys in first place: Cedar Stars is now below Lansdowne by just three points with a game in hand and with a better goal differential.
Players' voice: Walter Calderon (1 goal, two assists)
Cedar Stars Academy midfielder Walter Calderon. Picture by Christopher Katona
Ex-New York Red Bulls youth player Walter Calderon had a hand in all of Cedar Stars Academy’s goals as he scored the opener and assisted the last two goals.
“I feel very happy for the goal and for the assists I hope to continue improving individually and as a team also to continue on the right path,” the 21-year-old said.
This game was Calderon’s second appearance in the CSL. The El Salvador native had one assist in his first CSL game last week against Central Park Rangers which leads him to three assists and one goal in two CSL games.
Although the Stars downed Lansdone Bhoys 3-0, Calderon noted that the victory over the amateur champions wasn’t a comfortable one.
“I feel very happy for the win and for the good work of the team I hope we continue like this,” he said. “We won 3-0 but it was not easy the team never stopped fighting and we knew how to take advantage of some of the opportunities we had and we did not settle for the fact that we were winning.”
Cedar Stars Academy
Shots (on target): 16 (5)
Yellow cards: 0
Red cards: 0
Shots (on target): 8 (3)
Yellow cards: 1 (Craig Purcell)
Red cards: 0