The action returned to the CSL following a week-long Thanksgiving break. High scores and some incredible goals now mean there's a new top team in Division 1! Both EPSL II teams scored major wins to improve their spots in the table while the league's leading scorer also kept pace.
Read more below:
Saturday, December 5
Polonia SC vs New York Shamrock SC (0-3)
New York Shamrock SC started December like it has the past two months; with a large win. While the 3-0 victory over Polonia SC is not as big as the previous ones, it might have been more important.
The three points earned, combined with Hoboken’s loss later in the day on Saturday, puts the Rocks at the top of the table in Division 1 with 23 points.
Head coach Patrick Geraghty was proud of his team’s work against Polonia.
“We had a strong performance this week against a good Polonia team,” he said “I was very happy with the clean sheet and we scored 3 good goals... Kieran McGovern made a fantastic save when it was 2-0 to keep that cushion.”
The team’s scoring came from the Uy brothers, Jonathan and Chris, alongside the Rock’s leading scorer Kurt Cameron. With this, he now sits at seven on the season near the top of the top scorers list in Division 1.
Next up for the Rocks is Top 4 sitting Stal Mielec NY, who will be traveling to Roosevelt Island on Sunday for the clash. Polonia will travel for it’s last match of 2020 on Sunday against Zum Schneider FC 03 II.
Manhattan Celtic vs Hoboken FC 1912 (4-1)
For the first time this season, Hoboken FC 1912 dropped points in a match as the team fell, 4-1, to Manhattan Celtic. The result puts Hoboken’s record at 1-1-1 against teams currently in the Top Four and drops them out of the top spot in the standings.
“(Hoboken) are a good side with a good heart, ultimately though the players on the pitch just had more quality, more intensity,” Celtic head coach Matthew Kane said. “Every player, including the two subs, were fantastic.”
Going up against the highest scoring offense in the CSL through eight weeks, Celtic wasted no time putting some distance between themselves and the visitors. John Barret scored his second goal in as many games in the 6th minute, after a free kick and Marco Charnas assist led to chaos in the box, allowing for a quick strike.
The next goal was lucky enough to be caught on stream or else not many people would believe it. In the 11th minute, following a battle for possession at midfield, Cesar Serna launched a shot from the halfway line that just glided over the Hoboken keeper’s fingers and into the net. Kane laughed that Serna usually goes for that shot once almost every game and to see it go in, and be the second most impressive goal of the night, was hilarious.
The honor of best goal went to the CSL’s leading scorer Charnas. A long lob from Daniel Arvidsson was coming towards him in the box from near midfield. Under pressure, Charnas volleyed the pass and slammed it into the back of the net in the 29th minute to give Celtic a 3-0 lead.
“I've always talked about Marco being the best player in the league,” Coach Kane said about his team’s leading scorer. “His volley on Saturday night in front of the stream was an excellent way to showcase that. His entire game, physically and tactically, (were) just on another level to his opponents. Man of the match Saturday for sure.”
After getting scored on three times, each in a more spectacular fashion, might have zapped the morale of some teams heading into the second half. However Hoboken head coach Steve Korfiatis explained that his players were committed to the game plan and properly picked themselves up during the break. To them, a three goal deficit was just as overcomable as a single goal one.
The results were instant and in only 30 second James Reed made it 3-1. He struck a low shot from the right side, outside the penalty area, that veered through traffic and past the diving keeper to give his team life. From there 1912 organized it’s press and attempted to close Manhattan into their own half to varying success. The visitors got a few more chances but could not find a second goal during the shuffle.
“Like most games of this calibre, small details can have big impacts. We had a number of critical moments that could have changed the rhythm of the match,” Korfiatis said after the match. “We also believe that if we could have put away a number of chances we created throughout the second half when the match was 3-1, our momentum would have likely led us to another goal. In the end we have to take advantage of these moments and limit individual errors to elevate our level. We want to continue learning from our errors, keep improving and growing in character.”
A counter attack and final late goal by Salatiel Campos, assisted by Omar Amari, sealed the win for Celtic and pushed the team into second place over Hoboken via tie-breaker.
1912 will look for revenge against Manhattan Kickers this Saturday, with kickoff set for 9 PM on Pier 40. Celtic meanwhile will visit the other New Jersey side, Beyond FC, the next day at 2 PM.
Match Broadcast: https://www.facebook.com/132818970251012/videos/2740157396249472
Sunday, December 6
Beyond FC vs Real Ole FC (2-0)
Beyond FC broke an eight week losing streak against Real Ole FC, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon. The hard fought match was one of the more evenly fought contests over the weekend, with both sides fighting for any sort of points.
Jelani Pieters scored both goals for his team, making it five goals in two games, and helped his team’s continued offensive push. Despite Ole’s attempts, including great team play inside Beyond’s end, the New Jersey side’s defense earned its first clean sheet victory of the year.
With morale high, Beyond has one more match in 2020 against Manhattan Celtic this Sunday. The difficult match-up will be the last until the team plays a makeup match against Polonia SC sometime in January. Meanwhile, Real Ole will visit Richmond County FC on Sunday as they attempt to escape the bottom of the table.
Stal Mielec NY vs Richmond County FC (3-1)
Richmond County FC’s winning streak ended on Sunday as the team lost, 3-1, to Stal Mielec NY. The current team in fourth place, with two games in hand, Stal finished out the match with only 10 men due to a second yellow card.
Performance wise, Stal’s standout players were Chris Karcz and Lukasz Hausner. Both combined for the team’s second goal, with Hausner assisting, as Karcz played a pivotal role up top. His directing of traffic helped keep Richmond off their paces during the match. Hausner later assisted Mateusz Chlost on the game’s last goal. Marcin Jaworek also scored his first goal of the season, assisted by Patryk Majkut.
After Stal’s Kevin Romero earned a second yellow, Richmond did get more chances with the extra manpower. Mark Shnadshteyn’s unassisted goal to cut into the lead looked as though it might not be the only score for the visitors, but the home side held out and even got a few more chances on net before the final whistle.
The next challenge for Stal will be against first place New York Shamrock SC on Sunday. Richmond will take Real Ole FC later on the same day.
New York Greek Americans II vs Manhattan Kickers (7-1)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
New York Greek Americans II beat Manhattan Kickers, 7-1, breaking a two game losing streak. With the win the Greeks sit with 9 points with a game to makeup. If the team can finish the fall, including any makeups in January, strong it could see itself in the top half of the table battling for a top three finish.
The Kickers however have other pressing matters to contend with. A few roster issues meant reserve team stars playing two games in one day. Head coach Bryan Baracaldo hopes players will be able to play more consistently but also realizes the current situation can’t be helped.
Greeks II will face Kelmendi FC NY on Sunday while the Kickers match sees them take on Hoboken FC 1912 on Saturday.
Zum Schneider FC 03 II vs Kelmendi FC NY (6-0)
In its biggest win of the season so far, Zum Schneider FC 03 II demolished Kelmendi FC NY, 6-0, in Sunday’s night cap. With the win Zum has won three games in-a-row and jumps to 5th place while Kelmendi falls to five losses.
"This was our most complete effort of the season to date,” Zum head coach Ryan Horch said afterwards. “I am very proud of the team and the way we took our chances. I cannot point to one area of the game that I was unhappy with."
Even before halftime, Zum II had scored four goals and outplayed Kelmendi, leaving a large hole for the visitors to dig out of in the final 45 minutes. Chris de Abreu bookended the half with shots from outside the box, the first assisted by Youseff Afifi, for his first two goals of the season. The onslaught inbetween saw Stephen Ojo knock in the second and Conor Pellas get on the end of a back post cross from Afifi to make it 3-0.
Overall, the home side demonstrated better team play as the pace spread across the field on Roosevelt Island. Defender Mo Haridi’s performance was stellar in the middle of the back line, winning most every challenge that came his way and keeping clear shot attempts to a minimum. Right back Michael Horch also made key tackles early in the game that helped set the tone. The visitor’s best chance came in that early window as well, when only trailing by a single goal, that forced goalkeeper Ricky Bowry to make a diving save that tipped the ball off the post and out of the goal. After that, the team fell back and failed to produce chances.
Kelemdi was unable to produce anything effective in the second half and Zum’s pressure uptop continued. Substitute Orden Nelson used his fresh legs to take a few attempts before finally tucking in his third opportunity to make it 5-0. Ojo later scored the sixth and final goal of the evening to put away the win.
Zum II will host Polonia SC on Sunday in another night match, which expects to be another frigid affair on Roosevelt Island, while Kelmendi takes on New York Greek Americans II earlier in the evening.