New York Shamrock SC poses for a team photo prior to their Week 15 match against Polonia SC on Randalls Island (Credit: New York Shamrock SC)
There are two aspects to a blowout win. While the offense is usually seen as the biggest part, defense is the reason why one team has a big "0" next to their name. In this case, Week 15 in the CSL First Division had a lot of that as four games finished with +4 goal differential scorelines. Two came from table leader while the others may show some teams in the lower table are turning a corner. Every team battled the elements over last weekend as the table slowly starts to finalize.
Wednesday, April 7
New York Greek Americans II vs Real Olé FC (5-0)
Goal scorer information not provided by New York Greek Americans II
The New York Greek Americans II crushed Real Olé FC, 5-0, in Wednesday's makeup match. The match pushes Olé to 15 games played, leaving only two teams with make-up games to play in D1. The struggles this season, due to increased competition and off-the-field hassles, has been affecting each team differently. At this point, while Real Olé is safe from relegation (for now) they’ll need to find more consistency if they want to finish 2021 on a positive note, and not give hope to teams looking to escape dropping down.
Saturday, April 10
New York Shamrock SC vs Polonia SC (4-0)
Table topping New York Shamrock SC opened Week 15 proper with a dominate victory over Polonia SC, 4-0. The first place side remains undefeated while Polonia’s struggles continue to mount and relegation looks more likely every week.
While both teams started the match off offensively, eventually Chris Uy’s cross found the head of Kurt Cameron who redirected it into the net. Not long after, Cameron struck again off a well placed through ball from Rafael Carvalho. The backline of Souleymane Bah, debutant Finn O'Reilly and a stellar performance from Kieran McGovern held any counter attacks Polonia mustered at bay.
As the second half began with Polonia pressure, the Rocks held out despite a few clear shots on net. A few changes by head coach Patrick Geraghty, including fresh legs, allowed Uy to find space down the line and line up another cross. This time Usman Ibine Ayo was on the receiving end, cruising it into the back of the net with most hope Polonia had for a comeback. Before the final whistle Uy notched a goal for himself in what was an MVP performance.
As they remain one point ahead of Manhattan Celtic, the Rocks will need to focus on this Sunday’s match if they want to remain in control heading into the Week 17 clash between the two. They’ll visit the tricky Kelmendi FC NY on Randalls Island in the evening. Polonia will host Richmond County FC on Sunday morning.
Sunday, April 11
Beyond FC vs New York Greek Americans II (2-1)
Goal scorer information not provided by either team
Beyond FC widened the gap between itself and the relegation zone after beating New York Greek Americans II on Sunday morning. The 2-1 win puts them at 14 points, three full games ahead of both Polonia SC and Manhattan Kickers. For the visiting Greeks, the result breaks a three-game winning streak they had been enjoying since the second week of the spring season.
The Greeks will needed to rebound quickly as they faced Stal Mielec NY on Wednesday night on the road. That game will be covered in next week's recap along with their visit this Sunday against Hoboken FC 1912. Beyond will take on Real Olé FC on Sunday as well at a yet to be announced time.
Real Olé FC vs Stal Mielec NY (4-0)
Goal scorer information not provided by Real Olé FC
Real Olé FC’s defense may have turned a corner this Spring. The team beat Stal Mielec NY by four goals while the backline held the visitors scoreless for 90 minutes. For Stal, they still have one game in hand and sit tied on points with New York Greek Americans II. Those two met in a match last night (Wednesday) to determine which stays in the top half of the Division 1 table (that game will be covered next week). Stal will also host Manhattan Kicker this Sunday, while Real hosts Beyond FC the same day.
Richmond County FC vs Manhattan Kickers (1-1)
Goal scorer information not provided by Manhattan Kickers
The Manhattan Kicker and Richmond County FC played to a 1-1 draw on Sunday evening. The back and forth game puts the Kickers at five points this season, tied with Polonia SC for last place in the first division relegation zone.
The result is the latest in a string of disappointments for Richmond whose Spring record stands at 1-1-3. The team that was leading Division 2 last season at the time of cancelation hasn’t been clicking this season, and dropping points to a last place team is the latest example of that. Dominik Urban scored the team’s lone goal, his second of the year.
Richmond will play again this Sunday, traveling to face Polonia in one of the day’s first matches. The Kickers will visit Stal Mielec NY later in the afternoon.
Manhattan Celtic vs Kelmendi FC NY (5-0)
In the third blowout of the weekend, Manhattan Celtic beat Kelmendi FC NY, 5-0. After surging this spring, the visitors hit a brick wall in the form of Celtic’s overpowering offense.
The game was also a rarity in that head coach Matthew Kane was not on the sideline for his team. As he dealt with another matter, the league leading scorer Marco Charnas took up the gaffer role as he quietly nursed a lingering leg injury. In his words, despite a tight first half his group were able to hold the ball more and controlled the pace. A few chances on the counter-attack finally paid off as Cesar Serna knocked in an unassisted goal to get the ball rolling.
From there, Celtic controlled the game outside of a small portion of the early second half. Kelmendi’s pace slowed and the D1 title hopefuls put up points. Conor Coleman, Daniel Arvidson, and Aboubacar Kaba all netted goals, with assists from Dan Korman, Coleman, and Mau Fornerino, respectively. Serna was even able to net himself a second goal off a through pass from Kwadwo Asante midway through the second half.
It wasn’t all perfect as Curtis Oberg earned two yellows during the 90 minutes and was sent off late, but coach Charnas and the absent Kane were happy with the result.
“Happy with the win against the 4th placed team and we are focussed on just the next game against a resurgent Zum team in the spring,” Kane said in an email.
That game against Zum Schneider FC 03 II will happen this Sunday on Roosevelt Island. Kelmendi meanwhile won’t have a break as they host first place New York Shamrock SC that night as well.
Zum Schneider FC 03 II vs Hoboken FC 1912 (1-3)
In the final match last weekend, Hoboken FC 1912 played through terrible weather and beat Zum Schneider FC 04 3 II, 3-1. The tale of two halves saw both teams get chances with Hoboken surviving to leave with three points.
According to Hoboken head coach Steve Korfiatis his team played some of the best soccer of the season in the first half, followed by one of the worst in the final 45. Joseph Braun and Louis Mobbs both scored in the early game, assisted by James Reed and Chris Segovia respecivly, to put the third place side on top early. Kevin Halliday also knocked in a successful penaly kick attempt.
“Our ability to control possession and the pace of the match was impressive,” Korfiatis said in an email. “I was even more impressed with my player’s ability to find solutions building the ball out of the back and making the right choices in our transitional game. We were able to win the ball quickly after losing it and were effective and composed with the ball at our feet.”
In the second half though, Hoboken’s organization fell apart. Zum II head coach Ryan Horch said his team couldn’t find a rhythm in the first half. But in the second, their lines helped catch Hoboken out of place on multiple occasions leading to great shot attempts. Two hits off the post, a headed corner kick by Lucas Doucette, and a breakaway attempt by Stephen Ojo were some of the highlights. The team did eventually break through when Atay Yilmaz’s pass was headed in by Faissal Sanfo, but it was the only one.
“Overall, I thought we could have tied the game and were the better side for much of the second half,” Horch said afterwards, who also praised goalkeeper Ricky Bowry’s second half rebound in net.
Zum II will now host Manhattan Celtic in Sunday’s nightcap, while Hoboken enters a grueling stretch across multiple competitions. They’re first match will be this Sunday against New York Greek Americans II.
“We continue our packed spring schedule this Sunday and then have four matches in 14 days the following week,” Korfiatis said.