Spring's Fight to Remain in the Top Flight

By Ralph Chery

Doxa SC versus NY Greek Americans on Sept. 18th. NY Greek Americans Images

 

Although only the last two teams of the first division get relegated to Division 2, six teams are currently in danger of dropping to the lower division as only three points separate the fifth-placed team from the ninth-placed team.

CSL Division 1 Standings

 

Zum Schneider FC 03 [5th, 3-4-4, 13 pts]

Zum Schneider FC 03 looks safe from the dropzone as they sit in fifth place in the table. They're fighting to make the playoffs as a promoted team as they're only five points away. However looking down in the standings, the promoted team is also battling to remain in the top flight, being placed only three points above the dropzone with 13 points.

ZSFC was sentenced the toughest Spring schedule out of the six teams fighting to stay in Division 1. After losing to first placed Lansdowne Bhoys 2-1 last Sunday, John Palladino's men are scheduled to play third-placed team NY Pancyprian Freedoms, second placed Shamrock SC and fourth placed Cedar Stars Academy respectively.

 

NY Greek Americans [6th, 2-5-4, 11 pts]

NY Greek Americans sit underneath Zum with 11 points, one point safe from relegation. NYGA has been in Division 1 for 14 consecutive seasons and since then they won the league four times.

 

Former NY Greek Americans players celebrating a goal in 2014. Photo: Paul Rudderow | PhillySoccerPage.net

 

The Greek based-club uncharacteristically ended last season in eighth place. They dragged their struggle into the first half of the season.

After a drastic makeover of the team, NYGA is now on a six-game unbeaten run, which is the best form in the league beside Lansdowne. In their unbeaten run, Peter Nikolakakos's side drew with the Bhoys 1-1 in the league and conquered Cedar Stars 5-3 in the Manning Cup.

The four-time CSL champions edged a fellow team in danger of dropping to D2 in their last game as they defeated Doxa SC 3-2. Their next match is against CSA.

 

Doxa SC [7th, 2-5-4, 11 pts]

The team below NYGA in eighth place also has 11 points: newly promoted side Doxa SC. A month into the season, Doxa was in fourth place and had tied with Lansdowne 1-1 and Cedar 3-3.

 

Doxa SC striker Kurt Cameron celebrating after scoring against Zum Schneider FC 03 on Oct. 2nd. Doxa SC Images

 

After the tie with Lansdowne, Doxa head coach Paul Grafas stated that his side is not a team that will get relegated back to Division 2.

“We are putting up a statement that we are not a team that was promoted from division two to let these teams get away with whatever they want to do and push us back down into the second division,” Grafas said.

Five months later, the Greek based-club won two of their last six league games and lost four. Doxa's next opponent is relegation-threatened NY Athletic Club. A loss could drop Doxa to the relegation zone and push NYAC out of the dropzone to their opponent's current position in seventh place.

 

Manhattan Celtic [8th, 2-5-5, 11 pts]

Manhattan Celtic could also get affected by the outcome of the relegation battle between Doxa and NY Athletic Club. If the game finishes in a draw, Celtic will drop to the relegation zone.

The Irish based-club has been in Division 1 since 2012-13. They netted the least goals in the league and have the second longest winless run, which is eight games. Manhattan tied with last placed Polonia Gwardia SC NY 1-1 and lost to the Boys 2-0 in their last two league games.

 

NY Athletic Club [9th, 2-4-5, 10 pts]

NYAC is one point away from safety in ninth place. They slowly started to dig themselves out of the relegation zone in their last two matches, tying with CSA 3-3 on December and upsetting Shamrock with a 2-1 victory last Sunday.

NY Athletic head coach Erik Bagwell predicted that his side will get out of the dropzone before the start of the Spring season.

"The plan is to be better in the final third and not let our guard down when we are up by a goal or two. We'll be out of the relegation zone quite quickly," Bagwell said.

 

Polonia Gwardia SC NY [10th, 0-2-10, 2 pts] 

Polonia sits at the bottom of the table with two points. Their probability to remain in D1 is still alive but slim. Marek Jakubowski's side is nine points away from safety and is still looking for its first win of the season after 12 matches.

 

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