With two teams off last weekend the other ten teams had to pick up the pace. Multiple late-game comebacks, great defensive efforts, and over half the games being streamed equaled a great second week in Division 1.
Full recap below, and Week 2 highlights provided by Game In Frame!
Saturday, September 18
Richmond County FC vs New York Athletic Club (4-1)
(Match broadcast by Game in Frame)
New York Athletic Club followed up it’s week one win with a loss by the same score. Richmond County FC won, 4-1, against a short handed NYAC side.
The win did not come easy for County who struggled during the early game. Manager Kemal Brkanovic says his player’s lack of intensity held them back and put them in a hole early.
“The first half was very frustrating for us as we were lacking some cutting edge in the final third,” he said in an email. “But in the second half we responded really well and were able to dominate throughout, scoring four goals and controlling the game.”
Athletic Club’s Liam Daniels got in a run along the right side in the 2nd minute, after a precise pass from Neil Vranis, before cutting in towards the net. He got in close and chipped the ball into the opposite side to give his team the early lead. The team had no substitutes available and was using some players that had just finished competing in the reserve team game. That game ended in a 1-1 draw.
As time wore on the tired legs began to show and Richmond took advantage. The big break came in the 58th minute when midfielder Peter Zima scored a longshot goal from 20 yards out. Jonard Kadriu fed in the pass with no defenders near him. Efe Kaynar took the chance and put in an MVP performance for the rest of the match as well. He scored one goal (69’, assisted by Albert Ruci) and later assisted on Richmond’s final goal (Mark Shnadshteyn in the 85’).
The other goal was a simple cross from James Haddad to Jonard Kadriu in the 73rd minute. The simple redirect with his right foot was essentially against an empty net. The goal scorer was also credited by Brkanovic for changing the game as a second half substitution.
Richmond are home again on Sunday night against Stal Mielec NY while Athletic Club visits Manhattan Kickers on Randalls Island.
Sunday, September 19
Beyond FC vs Polonia SC (0-4)
After a disappointing start to the fall last week Polonia SC rebounded with a huge win, 4-0, against Beyond FC. Two penalties kicks were the final nail for Beyond who began their season with a second loss.
Both Travis Blair and Conrad Nowowiejski scored twice for their team. Blair set the early tone eight minutes in when he finished off a pass from Nathaniel Merchant for the early lead. His team continued to get shots on goal but the Beyond keeper kept the game close for as long as he could. Just before halftime Polonia was awarded a penalty and Nowowiejski sunk it to double the lead. Another PK early in the second half followed the same routine.
The match finished when Blair got a breakaway attempt and the Beyond keeper was pulled out of his net. After getting around him, the Polonia striker made it 4-0 just before the final whistle.
Polonia will host Hoboken FC 1912 this Sunday at McCarren Park while Beyond hosts FC Sandžak later on.
Manhattan Kickers vs Hoboken FC 1912 (0-3)
(Match broadcast by Coaches Corner NYC)
A close battle slipped away from Manhattan Kickers who fell to Hoboken FC 1912, 3-0, on Sunday afternoon.
The two teams finished 2020/21 in opposite directions, with Hoboken claiming bronze in the season table and the Kickers finishing at the bottom. Going into Sunday was different though and Hoboken head coach Steve Korfiatis knew it. Manhattan’s new signings and ability to play out the back were going to be a challenge for his squad.
Knowing this Korfiatis applied a high press and hoped to force turnovers to catch them off guard. The Kickers were unable to counter this and in the words of their head coach Bryan Baracaldo the team made too many offensive mistakes. A major one led to Hoboken’s first goal when winger James Reed shifted to center. Peter Luther forced a turnover and fed Reed in the 38th minute to give 1912 the lead.
Manhattan transitioned into its own press as Hoboken moved back with four defenders making up the back line. Korfiatis admits his group should have stayed the course but outside of a few moments the Kickers’ chances were few. By the time it was the 85th minute the home side was desperate to try and equalize. A Hoboken chance led to a corner and Zachary Cimring’s kick was directed into the net by Luther’s head to seal the result. A final goal by Aitor Hernandez, assisted by Kevin Bzdek after a quick recovery, made it 3-0.
The combined play of veteran Reed and all-around player Luther were some of the standouts in the game. On the other side though the Kickers coach thinks his new faces still need time.
“We had our chances but failed to hit the target several times,” said Baracaldo afterwards. “We build soccer which is what I want to continue to do, especially early in the season, and with a lot of new faces.”
The next chance to test his young squad will be this Sunday when the Kickers host New York Athletic Club on Randalls Island. Hoboken will visit Polonia SC that morning for it’s Week 3 contest.
FC Sandzak vs Stal Mielec NY (3-3)
(Match broadcast by Game in Frame)
The 3-3 draw between FC Sandžak and Stal Mielec NY was a battle and both squads earned the point they left with.
Each team scored three goals a half with Sandžak taking the early lead in the 5th minute thanks to team captain Almas Kojić off an assist from Haris Sabovic. The recently promoted squad outplayed the Stal defense outright. The second goal came with some controversy after a FCS player went down injured and Stal tried to kick the ball out of play. The home side quickly took advantage and charged down field for the score leaving some of the Stal players in disbelief. That goal and the team's third were scored by Agim "Jimmy" Majaj, with Sabovic assisting on the second.
The second half felt similar but had totally different results. Alexander Lenart scored the last two goals in the final ten minutes after Pawel Marczenia got Stal on the board.
Stal will visit Richmond County FC this Sunday night for Week 3 while Sandžak tries to move past the second half collapse against Beyond FC on the same day.
Borgetto FC vs Kelmendi FC NY (4-2)
(Match broadcast by Game in Frame)
The defending Division 2 champs are making their mark in the top tier. Borgetto FC scored their second win of the young season by beating Kelmendi FC NY, 4-2. Despite dominating the possession game the visiting Kelmendi successfully defended for most of the match to keep Borgetto off the board for long stretches.
A methodical first half between the two sides netted zero goals. Both keepers played well, with Joseph Blasseti making multiple saves for Borgetto to keep his team from trailing. In the second half though, Kelmendi struck first. In the 57th minute Robert Gjelaj found Ronaldo Kocaj with a long pass to the left side. He charged down the field and avoided a sliding Blasseti to slip the ball into the open net for the 1-0 lead.
That moment changed the game according to Borgetto’s manager Benny DiPasquale. His team rebounded almost immediately and responded with three goals in less than two minutes. The competent Kelmendi backline became limp and uncoordinated within the span of a few plays. Jeffery Gad equalized in the 62nd with a neat tuckaway into the bottom left corner. Right off the restart, Borgetto charged Kelmendi in the center of the field, stole the ball, and fed Alexis Santa running down the middle. With the keeper coming towards him he quickly passed to Miguel Chun on his right who took the lead with the empty net goal. Steven Fernandez made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute after he intercepted a poor KFCNY pass on the right side.
Santa added an insurance goal in the 83rd minute, assisted by Fernandez. Kelmendi scored one not long after in the 85th when a corner kick deflected off Blasseti’s hand and allowed Valter Kocaj to head it in.
Kelmendi will try to rebound this Sunday night when they host Zum Schneider FC 03 II on Randalls Island. Meanwhile if Borgetto wants to make it three wins-in-a-row they will need to beat defending champions New York Shamrock SC this Saturday on the road.