Week 16: Cedar Star Clinches Playoff Berth and Lansdowne Advances to Region 1 Final of the Fricker Cup

By Michael Battista

Week 16: Cedar Star Clinches Playoff Berth and Lansdowne Advances to Region 1 Final of the Fricker Cup

Week 16 was contained to a single day in Division 1 as one team clinched a playoff spot while another waits until Wednesday to see if it's hunt continues. A come from behind win for NY Athletic Club may be the point the team needs to stay afloat, NY Shamrocks SC let up a late goal that may cost them the post season, and Lansdowne Yonkers FC advanced in USASA Region 1 tournament play.

Here's the full recap of last Sunday's games.


Sunday, May 5
Hoboken FC 1912 v. Doxa FC (0-2)
Doxa FC did what it needed to do in order to keep its playoff hopes alive by beating Hoboken FC 1912, 2-0. The team will need to watch for Wednesday’s Lansdowne Yonkers result to see if it can keep that hope going into the next week. On the other end, Hoboken’s chances of escaping relation back to Division 2 are becoming dimmer by the week.

Bradley Nestor found Andres Breuer in the 15th minute to give Doxa the early and only lead the team needed. Chances kept coming as the offense began to jell, with team captain George Thomatos hitting off the post on the 35th minute. The game sealer came in the in second half when Milorad Sobot’s corner kick found Calvin Moyes, who flicked it in past the 1912 keeper.

Despite being somewhat shorthanded for the away game, team manager Peter Legakis said the team played extremely well and was well organized. 

“We stuck to the game plan and prevailed against a Hoboken side that fights for every loose ball and plays a full 90 minutes that does not let up their intensity or give up,” Legakis said in a post-game email.


NY Pancyprian Freedoms v. Central Park Rangers Whites (3-1)

After beating the Central Park Rangers Whites on Sunday afternoon, 3-1, The NY Pancyprian Freedoms are the 2018-19 CSL Division 1 Regular season champions having clinched the top spot and top seed for the upcoming playoffs.

Both teams played well in the first half with the Freedoms rotating players to keep legs fresh while CPR played the counter attack well. 

In the second though the Whites were dealt a heavy blow by Simon Tchoukriel when the defender lobbed a shot from beyond the 50-yard line past the keeper. His first goal of the season left CPR shaken up for a bit, but the team kept battling even after a second NYPF goal from the team's leading scorer Adam Himeno

Halfway through the second, a corner kick opportunity gave Rangers hope as James Greco’s kick found the head of Gabi de Foresta who put his team within one. But the team couldn’t convert after that and with about ten minutes to play Lukas Ostermann sealed the game with a goal of his own.


Cedar Stars Academy v. NY Athletic Club (2-2)

On a soggy afternoon in New Jersey Cedar Star Academy and New York Athletic Club played to a draw, 2-2. The point for each team meant a lot in the long run, with CSA clinching a playoff spot due to it and the NY Shamrocks SC loss while NYAC moved farther away from any chance of being relegated to Division 2.

"I would emphasize the team effort in fighting through some of the most difficult conditions I’ve seen against one of the top teams in the League, NYAC head coach Jimmy Lannon said after the game in an email. "After going down 2-0, our guys stayed positive and fought hard- it took a ton of character to press on and take both well-earned goals."

The Stars jumped were the first to capitalize in the early. Just under ten minutes in, Giuseppe Barone received the ball on the right flank and made a quick move to play the ball diagonally to the top of the 18. The CSL’s leading goal scorer Chris Katona one timed it to the near post for his 19th of the season. 

Athletic Club tried to counter with offense of their own, but a careless turnover in the midfield made it 2-0 when Daniel Cordeiro sent the ball to the left side and Katona, who slipped the ball to Carlton McKenzie inside the 18. With little defense around him, he quickly but calmly chipped the ball over the sliding keeper.

After finishing the first half by stringing some passes together and getting some shots on goal to no avail, NYAC began to take advantage of situations more in the last 45. After a foul awarded his team a free kick, Jake Mann’s free kick found the head of Alejandro Sucre who put it past the Cedar Stars defense. A quick footed Amara Sesay ran up and finished past the keeper to cut the deficit to one.

Cedar Star meanwhile had issues on offense coming together. About 15 minutes in, Katona was taken down in the box. While his team protested, the ref allowed play to continue elating some annoyance from the sideline. The Athletic club back front including Anthony Baumann and keeper Vasili Dimopoulis began to come up with more and more clutch moments as the game wore on.

With the whole team firing on all cylinders now and following the precedent set by the end of the first half, Laurin Vogel’s tying goal was a team effort. A throw in by Nat Bekoe found Sucre who began a pass and back between the two before finding Rafik Mekhaldi. Sesay, who was in the middle of the field, received a long pass from Mekaldi. The former then switched the field for a running Vogel who took a couple of touches and ripped a hard shot past the Cedar Stars goalkeeper in the near post.

In a post-game email, Sucre noted that the come from behind win against a great team was something his team is proud of.

“We are proud to have secured a good result against a strong opponent and will continue to build upon this momentum for the remaining two games of the season,” he said.


NY Greek Americans v. NY Shamrock SC (1-0)

The NY Shamrocks SC’s playoff hopes took a hit has the squad fell to the third place NY Greek Americans, 1-0, in Sunday’s night game.

Both teams played to a stalemate throughout with both looking as though they would leave the field with a point each. But late in the 88th minute, a cross by Cameron Beale to Sean Foster deep in Rocks’ territory gave the latter space. He flicked the ball to Tyler Botte who capitalized for the goal to win the game for his team.

The Greeks entered the game with a smaller roster after last week’s game against Lansdowne left the squad on short rest. First string goalkeeper Bradley Johnson and team co-captain, center back Tom Wharf were sidelined for the game leaving the team to make adjustments. Nino Alfonso was pulled back to fill in for Wharf while NYGA Reserves keeper Kern Griffith took the field again for the Greeks, this time without needing to be driven in mid-game.

Griffith was able to keep the Shamrocks scoreless through 90 minutes and the team played knowing a win was critical for a potential playoff spot. Co-caption Sean Foster, despite also being injured, also laced up and took the field to help his team. 


Non League - Sunday, May 5

Lansdowne Yonkers FC v. Brockton FC United (Mass.) (3-0)
Lansdowne Yonkers FC took an early lead and never looked back as it beat Massachusetts’ side Brockton FC United, 3-0, on a rainy day at Fleming Field. After needing penalty kicks the advance last round, the team is now into the Region 1 Final of the National Fricker Open Cup where the team will play Yinz United (Maryland Soccer) for the regional title on June 16 in Horsham, PA.

The Bhoys got on the board early after a Cirean Mcguigan free kick goal from 25 yards after ten minutes. Yonkers tested the Brockton defense early on and was able to get multiple lanes down the sides and middle to challenge the backline.

Despite chances from Ovan Oakley, who’s been producing numbers this spring, and the recently returning Olusola Ayoola, Lansdowne couldn’t find the back of the net again in the first half.

After the midway intermission, Brockton began to find themselves and pressed back against Lansdowne. The backline of Kelly Mauritzan and Cian Collin helped stiffen some chances, while goalie Abdoukarim Danso stuffed anything that made it his way.

Collins put the game out of reach midway through the half when he struck home Samuel Gehman cross to double his team’s lead. The fell apart for Brockton from there as the lines were stretched. Ayoola struck home from a low cross to make it 3 with about 10 minutes to go.

Lansdowne returns to league action on Wednesday against v Zum Schneider FC 03 before taking on NY Shamrocks SC in the Irish derby on Saturday night.

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