New York Shamrock SC goal scorers pose after their win against Richmond County FC in Week 14 (Credit: New York Shamrock SC)
After a lot of high scoring action last week, Week 14 in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League's First Division took a more defensive turn. Four games ended with cleansheets and five of the seven were decided by one goal. And yes, seven games did take place last weekend as Real Olé FC and Polonia SC played both their fall makeup and spring match over the course of two days. A highly anticpated game between second and third place also went off on stream, which may help determine which club wins the title at season's end.
Saturday, March 27
Real Olé FC vs Polonia SC (2-1)
Goal scorer information not provided by either team
Following a postponement of the original makeup back in February, Real Olé FC and Polonia SC finally had the chance to play each other for the first time. Real Olé earned their third win of the season, 2-1, and now sit at nine points on the season.
New York Shamrock SC vs Richmond County FC (4-0)
Division leading New York Shamrock SC held their ground against Richmond County FC on Saturday evening. The visitors were blanked for the second week in-a-row by a top two team as their defense have struggled against the league’s top offenses.
James Whyte, Charlie O’Loughlin, Rafa Carvalho and Chris Uy all scored for the Rocks as the team remained in first place for another week. Keeper Kieran McGovern made multiple saves, including a spectacular one in the second half from a well struck drive, to hold onto the clean sheet.
For Richmond, the loss comes one week after the team fell to Manhattan Celtic by a similar score. The team’s defense has had issues and it shows with it's current goal differential of -8. They will host Manhattan Kickers following the holiday break looking for a confidence boosting win. Shamrock will host Polonia SC the same weekend.
Sunday, March 28
Polonia SC vs Real Olé FC (5-2)
Goal scorer information not provided by either team
After the previous day’s game, Polonia SC hosted Real Olé FC in the return leg. Unlike Saturday’s game, Polonia’s offense surged as they scored the most goals of any of their previous games in the 5-2 win. Like Real Olé, Polonia earned their third win of the season. However, due to a points reduction for the team forfeiting it’s reserve match last week Polonia only has four points on the year.
Polonia will host Zum Schneider FC 03 II this Thursday before going on Holiday break. Real Olé has three games over the next two weeks starting with a make-up match on the road against Stal Mielec NY. The team will then travel to New York Greek Americans II on Wednesday, April 7 before hosting Stal in the second leg of a home-and-away on the 11th.
Hoboken FC 1912 vs Manhattan Celtic (0-1)
Broadcast live on the CSL & EPSL Facebook pages
In a highly anticipated match, Manhattan Celtic kept their title chase alive by beating Hoboken FC 1912, 1-0, on a soggy afternoon in New Jersey. The loss puts a near certain end to Hoboken’s own title hopes as they now sit in third place behind New York Shamrock SC by 10 points (at least four games).
The lone goal came from Cesar Serna in the second half who scored off a throw-in midway through.
Manhattan head coach Matthew Kane said his team was prepared for a battle but not something like this.
“The game took us by surprise. We had prepared the game expecting to be pressed and something more similar to the first game,” he said. “It became quickly apparent Hoboken were happy to concede possession and sit in looking to spring counter attacks.
“Game became about not making unnecessary mistakes to give Hoboken chances. It was hard to create attacks as Hoboken were so deep in the game.”
According to Hoboken head coach Steve Korfiatis, that was the plan going in. His team wanted to focus on playing in a tight defensive shape to keep Celtic’s possession time down. It did work somewhat as the visitors struggled to get close. However, the opposite end of the field struggled to get soffit chances in the final third.
“We applied a lot of pressure after conceding and had another 4-5 clear cut opportunities to score in the last 20 minutes of the game, but our finishing let us down, including a fantastic save by their goalkeeper (Michael Neish) in the final minutes),” Korfiatis said afterwards. “Despite the loss I'm really proud of my players and team and performance in general. I believe we were the more prepared and better side throughout the match.”
The final moments of the game nearly saw Hoboken score the equalizer, but the linesman called the play offside and not long after the final whistle blew.
Hoboken will host Manhattan Kickers tonight (Wednesday) before going on break for the week. Celtic meanwhile will have another challenge in a weeks time when they host the hot footed Kelmendi FC NY.
Stal Mielec NY vs Beyond FC (2-1)
No goal scorer information provided by Beyond FC
Despite an early lead, an early red card sunk Beyond FC against Stal Mielec NY, 2-1, as the team dropped it’s third straight game.
Stal manager Artur Kurasiewicz said of his opponent that they played very well despite being down a man for most of the contest.
“It looked like they played with 11 and my team played with 10. They had a couple of good chances to score, but my keeper, Piotr Holda, had a very good game,” he explained. “Kudos to Beyond who played man down for 70 minutes. They did not deserve to lose yesterday.”
The foul came when a Beyond player took down Partyk Majkut during a one on one. The straight red allowed Stal more space but Beyond was able to adapt. Wojciech Szymonik scored the equalizer before halftime as both teams went into the break. Despite being down a man, the visitors came out of the gate strong in the final 45 minutes. It took multiple chances for Mateusz Chlost to find space and score the eventual game winner midway through.
Stal has the rare game this weekend while most of the division heads on Holiday break as they host Real Olé FC on Saturday night. Beyond will host New York Greek Americans II in two weeks on Sunday, April 11.
Manhattan Kickers vs New York Greek Americans II (0-1)
The New York Greek Americans II made it two wins on Sunday, battling against Manhattan Kickers on Randalls Island just before weather took a turn for the worst.
Following multiple matches this season where the team struggled to gather players for lineups, Kickers’ head coach Bryan Baracaldo said Sunday afternoon’s match was the first time his team had a complete group. With that, his group was able to control possession far more and push plays deep into Greek territory. However that same deep play allowed Diego Mercado to kick a long ball down field with little resistance, leading to a run up the right wing and a cross to Brian Simpson in the box for the tap-in finish.
“In the second half we had several shots on goal, but unfortunately with all the new faces the chemistry isn’t there yet,” Baracaldo said in an email.
Longtime Greek striker Mario Gagliano played between the sticks for his team as a last-minute replacement. He earned possibly his first career clean sheet as the Kickers offense failed to convert on any chances, despite calls for penalties after a takedown and possible handballs.
Baracaldo hopes his team can turn this around soon and avoid relegation to Division 2 next season. His team will have little time to rest if they hope to change their fortunes against Hoboken FC 1912 tonight (Wednesday) at Pier 40. Greeks II will host Real Olé FC next Wednesday.
Kelmendi FC NY vs Zum Schneider FC 03 II (1-0)
Kelmendi FC NY finished the fall season with three wins. Only four weeks into the spring, the team has already eclipsed that total thanks to its win on Sunday night against Zum Schneider FC 03 II, 1-0.
Team manager Ylli Tinaj could not have been more pleased with how his team performed against an Eastern Premier Soccer League II team.
(Sunday’s) game was one of the best of the season,” he said in an email. “We played very well… Our defenders (stayed) together with the help of defense midfielder Anthony Ferrandino and attacking mid Eduard Necaj.”
That defense contented with a Zum offense that, in the words of manager Bobbak Khosravi, struggled to get shots on goal. Despite controlling possession and direction early on the game never felt like it was going the visitor’s way. Combined that with the rain on Randalls Island and the result was tired legs in the second half.
“Their defense was very aggressive on us and we were unable to break the lines,” Khosravi said.
Marino Nuculović continued his spring scoring success with the game winning score in the second half. A long touch pass from Necaj following a Zum defensive error set up Nuculović to sink it. The team also had a one-on-one opportunity against the Zum keeper and hit the post later on.
"Credit to the opponent for being very well organized and battling hard,” said Zum head coach Ryan Horch. “This was a good, physical outing between well matched teams."
Zum will visit Polonia SC on short rest this Thursday before going on holiday break. Kelmendi meanwhile will travel to Manhattan Celtic following the break on Sunday, April 11.