Division 1 Opens 2021/22 Season With Packed Weekend of Games

By Michael Battista / @MichaelB_96

Division 1 Opens 2021/22 Season With Packed Weekend of Games

Hoboken FC 1912 poses ahead of it's Week 1 clash against Kelmendi FC NY (Credit: Hoboken FC 1912)

The 2021/22 season has kicked off in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League! Unlike in previous seasons, three new teams are competing in Division 1 based on how they performed last year. Two of been promoted from Division 2, either as a champion or playoff winner, while one was relegated from the Metropolitan Conference of the Eastern Premier Soccer League. Last season's runner-up Manhattan Celtic accepted a promotion spot in the EPSL this season meaning last year's champion is still here and looking to repeat.

Six games opened the top tier last weekend. Here are the results:

Saturday, September 11

Richmond County FC vs FC Sandzak (1-0)
The first match of the 2021/22 season saw Richmond County FC defeat newly promoted FC Sandžak, 1-0, at Owl Hollow Field. Dominik Urban, who led Richmond in goals last season, opened his account in the 60th minute with the game’s only score.

“We did a great job in controlling the tempo of the game and maintaining possession,” said County’s head coach Halid Brkanovic. “The first half was very intense, with our opponent very fired up for their first match in Division 1.”

Urban’s goal followed Richmond picking up the pace and creating more space in the second half. The forward finished off a cross by Peter Zima with a sliding finish to take the lead 15 minutes into the final 45. Despite having a few more chances Sandžak held out thanks to great goalkeeper and a shot coming off the crossbar. 

Richmond keeper Hermes Ademovi earned both his and the league’s first clean sheet of the season. It was well earned, especially Sandžak had a huge chance late in the game with a one-on-one being blocked out for a corner. Brkanovic’s squad was also helped by a few new faces including one who made the mode of his debut.

“Our new player, 20 year old Albert Sadiku, played his first match in Division 1 and  put in a man of the match performance in center midfield,” he said in an email afterwards.

Richmond returns to Owl Hollow this Saturday when it hosts New York Athletic Club at 8 PM. Meanwhile Sandžak will host their first Division 1 game against Stal Mielec NY on Randalls Island this Sunday at 8 PM.

Sunday, September 12
Polonia SC vs Borgetto FC (1-7)
The reigning Division 2 champions have finally made it to the top of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League. Wasting little time, Borgetto FC opened their D1 account with a hammering of Polonia SC, 7-1, on Sunday morning. The match at McCarren Park saw seven goals scored in the second half.

Alessandro “Alex” Canicatti got the visitors on the board in the first half, assisted by Kevin Nuńez. His team was making the most of possession. But, as Borgetto manager Benny DiPasquale explained, Borgetto “botched” multiple scoring attempts, despite Polonia making mistakes in the back, and the score stayed low heading into halftime.

After some reorganization the defending second division champions took over the match. Match MVP Angelo Bordenca scored a hat-trick against Polonia with assists from Steven Fernandez, Jesus Patino, and Alexis Santa. His teammates also followed through with three more scores of their own. Miguel Chung (assisted by Santa), Nuńez (Chung), and Santa (John Rodriguez) all knocked in one goal each.

Polonia was able to score one back in the 60th minute when Merchant Nathaniel found the back of the net, assisted by Ahmed Zaid.

For Borgetto new faces like Sergio Abarca, Nuńez, and Chung all played a few roles on a team that’s looking to make a statement in their first season in the top tier. Borgetto will play last season’s surprise contender Kelmendi FC NY this Sunday at 8 PM on Randalls Island. Polonia will try to rebound against Beyond FC in New Jersey earlier that same day.

New York Athletic Club vs Stal Mielec NY (4-1)
New York Athletic Club marked their return to Division 1 with a 4-1 win over Stal Mielec NY on Sunday afternoon. NYAC’s offense needed to send a message after struggling last season in the Eastern Premier Soccer League.

Stal struck first within ten minutes when Chris Karcz, assisted by Marcin Jaworek, capitalized on a breakaway. Athletic Club’s backline was caught too far up and quickly had to resettle. After that the game fell into a back and forth but near the 30 minute new signee Hervé Valcourt tied the game at one goal each. He wasn’t done either, scoring a header later to give his team the lead.

About 15 minutes into the second half Laurin Vogel sealed the three points for NYAC. Captain Jimmy Lannon was taken down in the box and Vogel stepped up to the spot. The attempt was blocked but the quick thinking Vogel scored off his own rebound to make it 3-1. Dorian Wirz notched the fourth off an assist from Vogel.

Athletic Club will kick off Week 2 on Saturday night against Richmond County FC on Staten Island. Stal will play FC Sandžak the next night on Randalls Island.

Hoboken FC 1912 vs Kelmendi FC NY (5-0)
Despite what the scoreline might suggest Hoboken FC 1912’s 5-0 win over Kelmendi FC NY was not a walkover by any means. Head coach Steve Korfiatis knows that any first match of the season is going to be a challenge both physically and tactically.

“Starting on the right foot is really important in setting the tone for the season,” said Korfiatis. “That provides a level of pressure on the match, and was compounded by the fact that we had a number of new faces in the starting 11. Players and staff have collectively worked hard to prepare for the season both on and off the pitch and started early this summer to be ready for the first matchday.”

Knowing what to expect from Kelmendi the home side capitalized on the visitor’s aggressiveness and got on the scoresheet early. A corner kick into the Kelmendi box was brought down by Kevin Bzdek. He passed it off to Aitor Hernandez who finished with a volley into the back of the netting. With the team dominating possession, new signing Peter Luther played a through ball to fellow new face Dimitri Mataras who calmly struck in his first goal as a 1912 player.

While Kelmendi had some say in the first half, the second was all around Hoboken who controlled the game and wanted to end it early. Mataras followed up his goal with his first assist as well after he fed Joseph Braun early on. Hoboken’s defending top scorer struck the ball with his left foot into the bottom right side of the net to make it 3-0. Two more goals from captain Eric Terzer and Zach Cimring, assisted by Erik Stahle and Bzdek respectively, rounded out the scoring.

The result is a step in the right direction according to Korfiatis who wants his team to achieve more than it’s 3rd place finish last season.

“The club came very close to achieving all its goals last season and we are determined to go after every trophy this year,” he said. “We know it will take a lot of hard work, consistency and focus every step of the way against some very solid opposition. We're excited for the challenge!”

His team will visit Manhattan Kickers this Sunday night on Randalls Island. Kelmendi won’t be far away as they visit Borgetto FC on a different island field at the same time.

New York Shamrock SC vs Beyond FC (5-1)
No goal scorer information provided by New York Shamrock SC
The defending Division 1 champion New York Shamrock SC began their title defense with a dominant win, 5-1, over Beyond FC on Randalls Island. The win almost mirrors the two team’s first meeting last season in Week 3 when the Rocks earned a 4-0 victory.

Beyond team manager Ahmed “AJ”  Hamami said afterwards that his team’s performance was poor without a doubt. However in his view the team had more time with the ball, thanks to players like Mark Maguiness and Rutger Heijermans, and only struggled when making sloppy errors.

“Not typically will you walk away from a 5-1 loss and believe the team performed and did a lot of things right,” said Hamami. “But we did. I would say we had the majority of the possession, especially in the second half. However we gifted goals away and until we correct that, we can't expect to get many points. I expect a much cleaner performance next week.”

His team’s lone goal came after Sergio Gomez struck a free kick near the edge of Shamrock’s 18. It was on target and found Paul Nitto who finished for the score.

Beyond will host Polonia SC in New Jersey on Sunday afternoon. The Rocks will have a week off from league play before hosting Borgetto FC on Saturday, September 25.

Manhattan Kickers vs Zum Schneider FC 03 II (2-2)
(Match broadcast provided by Coachs Corner NYC)
Division 1’s first weekend wrapped up with a highly competitive 2-2 draw between Manhattan Kickers and Zum Schneider FC 03 II.

Despite finishing last season in the relegation zone the Kickers were able to stay in Division 1 due to other teams self relegating into the CSL’s lower divisions. With a second chance to prove they belong, head coach Bryan Baracaldo and his group set out to make a statement. They started the game in full control taking 1-0 lead into halftime. Shaiem Allahmorad finished off a through ball from James Zaiden in the 20th minute by chipping Zum keeper Ricky Bowry from the top of the penalty area. The team nearly had a two goal lead after being awarded a penalty in the 3rd minute but Bowry saved both the attempt and rebound attempt.

The Kickers took the momentum into the second half and immediately doubled their lead. Senan Lonergan charged down the left side into the box and pulled Bowry towards him. A cross to Mohamad Benkada, who normally plays on the reserve team, left him open to tap in his second goal of the night. Looking at the video there might have been a case for offside and many of the Zum players voiced that frustration to the referees immediately after.

The Kickers, who had been using a strategy of long passes and runs, began to tire during the second half and this gave Zum a chance to strike back. Assistant coach Lucas Doucette ran down the left side, with him describing himself as a “slow moving truck”, before crossing the ball into traffic. A few touches by Kicker players landed the ball at Matel Anasta’s feet who kicked it between the keeper’s legs in the 55th minute. In the 73rd minute a great team play set up Anasta once again to tie the game with a great solo effort into the lower right corner of the net.

Zum finished the match on the attack but could not secure another goal for three points. While Baracaldo and his team are happy with the point, Doucette believes his team could have come away with three in this match.

Manhattan will host Hoboken FC 1912 this Sunday on Randalls Island at 8 PM. Zum II will have the weekend off from CSL play but will visit Kelmendi FC NY on Sunday, September 26.













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