NY Pancyprian Freedoms midfielder Jeff Matteo getting set to receive a pass in a match versus Cedar Stars Academy. Picture by Devaughn Clasp
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery |@onz_11
Nov. 2nd, 2018
Round 8 will display one of the most anticipated match of the Fall season: first placed Cedar Stars Academy’s clash versus second placed NY Pancyprian Freedoms. Over at Travers Island, NY Athletic Club will host Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. for a jawdropping fixture also, a rematch of the Fricker Cup’s first round game, which NYAC lost the Bhoys in PKs.
Elsewhere, the high-flying underdogs Zum Schneider F.C. 03 will look to extend their four-match win streak against NY Greek Americans and Shamrocks will fight to bounce back from their shocking loss to Zum versus a Central Park Rangers Whites team that's eager to win their first match of the season.
Here's a full preview of this weekend’s encounters:
Cedar and Pancyprians take their unbeaten CSL run to each other
The moment the CSL has been waiting for this Fall season is almost upon us.
First placed Cedar Stars Academy will host second placed NY Pancyprian Freedoms on Sunday at Ramapo College Athletic Center at 11:00 a.m.
Both clubs are still undefeated in the league.
"I think it's good that we are playing another unbeaten team as it will give us a challenge," Cedar midfielder Daniel Cordeiro said. “Our team always rises to the challenge so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out.”
Despite being unbeaten in league play, the Freedoms uncharacteristically lost to NY Greeks, 3-0, in the Fricker Cup opener in their second to last game and drew their last match with Central Park Rangers, 1-1, last Sunday in the league.
“The Freedoms being winless after two games doesn't change our mindset at all,” Cordeiro said. “We feel we have more quality than most teams in the league so we don't need to focus much on them. For now we are just focusing on the next game in hand.”
Unlike NYPF, Cedar Stars is still carrying a winning run in all competitions, which is up to 10 matches now but they did slow down heavily in their scoring, winning their last three CSL matches by just one goal.
Despite the Freedoms' winless run and Cedar Stars not scoring at least five goals a game anymore in the league, expect mayhem in Jersey on Sunday morning.
The Cosmos B players from both clubs will face each other. CSA’s striker Bledi Bardic will test his shots against his Cosmos B teammate, keeper Hector Guerrero. Bardic will also go against Cosmos B fullback Jonathan Borrajo, who’s been playing right back for the Pancyprians this season.
Cosmos B players Daniel Szetela, Giuseppe Barone and Ryan Adeleye also play for the Stars. Hence both clubs together have a total of six Cosmos B players.
Lansdowne and NY Athletic plays a rematch of their Fricker Cup opener
Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. players Dawda Bah (number 22) and Aaron Dennis standing by the touchline alongside coach Jim Kelly. Lansdowne Bhoys Images
NY Athletic Club will welcome Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. at Travers Island on Sunday at noon.
The club met in the Fricker Cup’s first round just 11 days before the match. Lansdowne eliminated NYAC in penalty kicks after a 3-3 draw.
“Getting eliminated by them in PKs was difficult,” NYAC midfielder Noah Kossoff, who netted in the 3-3 draw said, “but we are excited to see them again this Sunday.”
The Irish club is looking more like the Lansdowne we’re used to as they’re unbeaten in their last five matches, which includes a dominant 2-0 win over NY Greeks on Wednesday.
Dawda Bah and Daryl Kavanagh were on target for the Bhoys. Lansdowne’s goal machine of the season Jack Doherty only racked an assist in that encounter but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see his name on the scoresheet against NYAC as he found the net 11 times so far this month and is the reigning Player of the Week.
As for NY Athletic, a player to watch on their roster is their goal and assist leader Rafik Mekhaldi. Mekhaldi tallied five goals and three assists in all competitions.
NYAC versed powerhouse Cedar Stars Academy last weekend, falling to them 1-0. In fact, the club only played teams from the top-half of the table in their previous four matches, going against Lansdowne, the Freedoms, NY Greeks and as mentioned Cedar Stars.
They defeated the Greeks, drew with Lansdowne in the Fricker Cup but lost to CSA and NY Pancyprians.
“While we didn’t get all the results we hoped for, it is clear that we can compete with anyone this year,” Kossoff said. “We are continuing to build as a team and these past few performances have given us a tremendous amount of confidence going into Sunday’s matchup.”
Zum will look to extend their win streak versus NY Greeks
The underdogs who have been stunning CSL giants with 1-0 win, Zum Schneider F.C. 03, have another match versus a powerhouse as they host NY Greek Americans at Randall’s Island Field 75 on Sunday night.
Zum slimmed by Lansdowne, Doxa and Shamrocks, 1-0, in their last three CSL matches. There was only one goalscoring hero in these matches, Christopher "Julian" Poppensieker, a center back. Nobody from the club predicted this, including Julian.
“Honestly, I’m as surprised as everyone else. As a center back that is not supposed to happen. But it feels good,” an excited Julian said.
Julian didn’t score with upper 90 shots from outside the 18, he scored like a center back, with his head from Saad Afif’s corners.
The Greeks outscored Zum 11-0 in their past four league meetings, beating them three times and tying with them once. With the roster ZSFC has this campaign and with the way their season is going, Julian doesn’t think it will be unlikely for his side to defeat the Greeks.
“We have some great individual quality and if we keep playing for each other I don’t see why we can’t beat the Greeks,” the center half said. “It won’t be easy. But nothing has been easy this season and we’re ready for another challenge.”
He previously stated: “We are on a roll right now. Defensively we have been solid and the whole team is working their socks off.”
Zum is the only team that registered four straight clean sheets in all competitions so far this season.
As Julian stated, “it won’t be easy” versus NYGA, the club owns one of the best attackers in the league, Charlie Ledula.
NY Greek Americans ace striker Charlie Ledula will go against a Zum Schneider F.C. 03 team that hasn't conceded a goal in four matches.
Standing at 6 foot and one inch, the big striker is the fifth top scorer with four goals and the fifth top assistman with three goal-passes.
However Ledula shot blank against Lansdowne on Wednesday as the Greeks lost, 2-0. Hence Julian and is fellow defenders have the arduous task of stopping a Ledula, who’s hungry to find the net to bring his side back to winning ways. But will Julian himself score in a fourth game in a row?
The 24-year-old laughed when asked that question then said: “Every streak has to end sometime right? My focus is on keeping a clean sheet at the back. We have some fantastic strikers who have been working hard. I expect them to reward themselves this weekend. I will be up there for corners of course!”
Central Park is ready to hunt Shamrocks down for their first win of the season
Central Park Rangers Whites James Greco in action versus Shamrocks. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
Central Park Rangers Whites will seek their first victory of the season this Saturday in an away fixture versus Shamrocks at Randall’s Island Field 70 at 9:00 p.m.
The Rangers were just two minutes away from winning their first match of the season against an unbeaten NY Pancyprians side last round but Shavon John-Brown netted an 88th minute equalizer.
“It's hard to leave the field feeling too happy when you had the lead in the 88th minute and didn't take all three points from the match,” CPR defender Bucky Aronoff said. “With that said, we're hungry. We're coming into this game ready to fight and earn three points and to start climbing up the table.”
While he is unhappy with the result, Aronoff is pleased that is side drew with a Pancyprians team that entered the game with five wins out of five CSL matches and expressed how confident the club is when they take on the giants of the CSL.
“Taking points off a team that hadn't dropped any is definitely something we can build from. We believe we have the talent to compete with and beat anyone in this league,” the former Muhlenberg defender said.
Shamrocks on the other end lost their last match to Zum, 1-0.
Coach Kevin Grogan was disappointed with the result and will surely look to bounce back this Saturday.
“It was a poor performance. It was a big opportunity wasted,” Grogan told the club’s website.
The Rocks’ loss to ZSFC split their CSL record to three wins and three losses, which places them to sixth spot.
Meanwhile CPR holds a 0-4-3 record and currently resides in last place. Aronoff noted how crucial it is to beat Shamrocks in other to start climbing out of last spot.
“Getting our first win would be massive for the team,” he said. “Not only for the obvious impact on our standing in the table but also for our morale and confidence as the first half of the season is coming to a close.”
Promoted side Hoboken meets Doxa
D1 newcomers Hoboken F.C. 1912 will play their first match against Doxa S.C. back in the top flight on Sunday at Randall’s Island Field 74 at 7:00 p.m.
Hoboken is coming off four straight losses versus four juggernauts: Shamrocks, NY Pancyprians, Cedar Stars and most recently NY Greeks, 3-1.
“It's important for us to put the losses against those good teams behind us and focus on playing our best, and have the results fall our way again,” midfielder Thomas Hogue, who leads the team in scoring with three goal said.
Before their matches against the top-notch clubs cited, the Jersey team registered two wins and one tie against teams from the lower half of the table. Hence they have yet to lose versus a club from the bottom half. Doxa sits in ninth spot.
Hogue is assured that if he and his teammates play collectively it’s a safe bet that they will overpower Paul Grafas’ men.
“We're confident that if we work well as a unit and play smart, there will be the opportunity to win against any opponent,” he said.
However the midfielder also noted that Doxa will "come out strong against [them] in search of a win." The Greek club is coming off a heartbreaking 3-2 loss to champions Lansdowne.