Table Toppers Fall as Division 2's 2019 Spring Season Kicks Off

By Michael Battista

Table Toppers Fall as Division 2's 2019 Spring Season Kicks Off

The first weekend back for CSL Division 2 was filled with upsets, come from behind games, and dozens of goals across eight games. Here's the full recap for Round 11 of league play:

Beyond FC vs Manhattan Kickers

In the CSL Game of the Week, a 10-man Manhattan Kickers squad scored three goals against Beyond FC and joined the Top 4 of Division 2’s South Region with a win, 4-1.

Manhattan came into the contest in 5th place on the D2 South table and on a three game winless streak - with the team’s last win coming against Beyond, 7-2, on Oct. 28. After the chippy affair, which included four yellow cards and one red card, the team now sits above FC Ulqini by one point who still have one game on the Kickers.

Early on, both teams played the entire length of the field as each side had chances to attack. The Kickers had the slight edge in regards to possession while Beyond was able to get more shots off toward the visitors’ net. As the half progressed, the cross river foe began to take advantage of Beyond’s tendency to play the ball back when in their own end. The white shirts put constant pressure on the backline 

“(I said) continue to do what you’re doing,” Kickers’ head coach Bryan Baracaldo said after the game. “I think when (we) started recognizing that they were having difficulting moving out of the back then you just ask somebody to push forward… (Beyond) weren’t able to deal with the pressure.”

The pressure netted the game’s first goal mid-way through the first half. After a challenge gave the Kickers a free kick on the left outside the box, James Zaiden sent the set piece toward the Beyond keeper whose block deflected behind him into the net. 

Beyond player manager Ahmed Hamami praised the Kickers after the game, but lamented his team’s tactical error.

“Manhattan is very strong team with a lot class all around the pitch and showed that yesterday,” Hamami said. “I felt like we were the better side in the 1st half, unfortunately we made an error leading to their first goal.”

Beyond wouldn’t go down without a fight and despite having limited players on the sideline for substitutions, the team ended the first half as the dominant force. First, the home team drew Manhattan’s Gerson Lima into a hard foul and earned him a yellow card. Second, the team began to utilize the sides of the field as corner crosses became more common. It paid off just before half as Abe Hamami ran up the right line around a Kicker defender before his long cross found the head of Patrick Doherty.

After the whistle blew to resume play, Manhattan began to take over despite Lima’s second yellow and subsequent red card sending him off not long into the half. 

The loss of a player didn’t stop the Kicker offense. When a loose ball rolled towards the Beyond keeper, Brian Morris beat him to it and outpaced the chasing defenders for an open net goal, giving his team the lead for the final time of the day. Beyond’s offense had chances in the Manhattan end but couldn’t finish any of its attempts even from point blank. Two more goals from Shaiem Allahmoradi and Senan Lonergan, the latter coming off a pass from Steven Sanchez, saw the game out.

Just before the final whistle, Hamami himself would go down with a slight injury in his leg as he needed help from his teammates to get off the field. After the game through email he self diagnosed himself as “day-by-day” with a slight hamstring strain.
 

The rest of Division 2 recap:

Saturday, March 16

Central Park Rangers Reds vs. CD Iberia (1-6)
CD Iberia earned it’s fifth win of the season with an impressive outing against Central Park Rangers Red

The visitors controlled the game from the offset as CPR Red couldn’t keep the pace. In particular, Danny Herrera earned his team’s MVP honors as he helped direct traffic and ball movement through the middle of the field for a majority of the game. 

José Elías knocked back two goals during the first 45 minutes and Pau Rocas joined him to give their team a three goal lead heading into the second half. 

Despite a fourth goal coming off the foot of Tomas Salazar, CPR Reds began to push forward more. After advancing their front line and getting a few chances on net, the Red’s Axel Ebene scored late into the second half as one of the team’s lone highlights. 

A second goal from Salazar one from Alex Barbosa came after the 80th minute for Iberia as the squad finished the game strong.

“We are looking forward to the Spring season as it is the first time in a few years that we have a full roster as we have been decimated by long term injuries to key players the last few seasons,” team manager David Lago said after the game in an email interview.
 

Sunday, March 17

Brishna vs. NYPD FC (0-2)
With it’s win, 2-0, over Brishna, NYPD FC closed the gap on Division 2 South’s fourth place Manhattan Celtic as the team now only trails them by 1 point - despite the later having a one game advantage on them.

New York's Finest FC’s goals came off the foot of Robert Kcira, whose two tonight puts him at half the season total currently held by teammate and relative Tom Kcira.

Brishna’s losing loses its second game in-a-row and looks to rebound against CPR Reds next week while NYPD FC goes up against D2 South leading KidSuper Samba AC in Sunday, March 24th’s early game. 

Real Ole FC vs. Sporting SC (2-2)
Sporting SC traveled far north for its match against Real Ole FC at the latter’s home of Fishkill, NY. After 90 minutes on a mud laidended field, the visitors needed two late goals to salvage a point in the draw, 2-2.

Despite the missed chance for a win, Real club president and center-mid Patrick Alvarez says the result had a positive result on the team.

“It definitely boosts the moral of the team,” Alvarez said. “Everybody knows we’re a solid club, we just have difficulty getting certain players to away games in the city… We bought a couple of new players who are going to help aid the team in away games. (This game) proved we can play with the best of them.”

Real looked as though it would earn three points against one of Division 2’s best clubs early on. The home field advantage came into play on difficult terrain as Sporting goalkeeper Laurence Girard saved the first shot on goal with by hus finger tips to push it over the crossbar. He would be continuously tested throughout, but a cross from Ethan Eustace found Mike Nittolo who put the ball in the back post.

Ten minutes into the second, Pat Alvarez recovered his own free kick rebound and sliced it in to give his team the two goal lead. 

“We thought (the lead) would be secured, but (Sporting) stepped up their game,” Alvarez explained.

With their team looking to come back, Abdul Caulker’s volley around the 70th minute and Don Iba’s five minutes later pushed the game into a new gear. Both teams fought for the extra two points, incurring fouls and shoves but neither could finish.

“We had a couple opportunities to put the game away, with the header off the post and wide open goal, header off the crossbar,” Alvarez said. “We just couldn’t hold them off nighty minutes. We could have scored more but that’s just football.”

NY Ukrainians vs. Stal Mielec NY (5-0)
After being outscored, 5-1, in its final 2018 match, the NY Ukrainians scored five unanswered goals of their own in the team’s spring opener against the currently second place Stal Mielec NY

The already troubled SMNY offense, which has the least number of goals scored (23) and worse goal differential (5) of any playoff placed team in the south region, could not get around the backline of Lukasz Prawdzik, Adnan "Adi" Zaganjor, Shaun Horton, and Travis Forsythe during the 90 minute affair. 

With their opponents offense stifled, it allowed Ukrainians to put pressure on Stal Mielec on offense and break through on multiple occasions. 

Adam Maliniak scored twice for his team, first on a header off a corner kick from Jameel Yahya and a second not long after off an assist by Gilbert Bayonne. Yahya would play a major role as a set-up man during the game assistant on two more goals from Horton and Abdulaziz Aljadany. The final stat came from Yousef Alrobay who scored assisted by Maged Alkasimi

Williamsburg International FC vs, FC Japan (1-2)
Sitting second from last in the D2 South Region after nine games, FC Japan started its spring campaign on a positive note as it defeated Williamsburg International FC, 2-1, on the road. The win puts Japan on a two game winning streak, it’s first of the 18-19 season, and keeps them on pace with the also victorious NY Ukrainians. 

The land of the rising sun’s favorite team was graced early when Williamsburg was hit with a red card in the 30th minute, giving Japan the edge for the last 2/3rds of the game. Naoki Sekikawa opened scoring for his team and it remained that way until halftime. 

A somewhat rejuvenated WIFC came out strong and before long, Richard Clements sunk in an equalizer off a cross from Danny Rivas midway through the half to make it seem the club would leave the pitch with at least one point. However the Doylies’ hope was dashed later on as Ken Mochizuki assisted Kenji Nakamura on the winner from close range. 

Overall, Japan maintained possession and didn’t give the worn out Williamsburg many chances to attack. When they did, the Doylies were still dangerous but couldn’t finish enough attempts in the end.

Williamsburg still sits five points off the pace in the D2 South table, a missed opportunity considering Stal Mielec NY’s loss would have put the squad within striking distance. 

KidSuper Samba AC vs FC Spring Valley (8-0)
Two teams that sit at opposite ends of the Division 2 North table played to an expected result as KidSuper Samba AC dominated FC Spring Valley, 8-0. 

With this latest result, Spring Valley has been outscored by their opponents 23-1 in its’ last two games. 

Both Ali Tounkara and Bah Alseny scored two goals each for their team while Bah Ibrahima, Sillah Ousman, Jalloh Ebrima, and Jannah Yankuba each scored one goal each. Yankuba increases his season total to 13 which currently leads both Division 2 North and Division 2 overall for the most goals. 

Other scores:
Panatha USA (0) - Polonia Gwardia NY (3)
Goal scorers:
Marcin Januszko (20th minutes, assist by Radoslaw Kucharski)
Radoslaw Kucharski
Marcin Januszko (80th minute, assist by Mariusz Kulesza)

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