Richmond County FC poses for a team photo prior to its match against NY Ukrainians on Sunday, October 27 (Credit: Richmond County FC)
In one weekend the CSL second division went from two perfect teams to none. Both Manhattan Celtic and Richmond County FC struggled over the weekend while many lower table teams earned much needed points. Only two games were seperated by more than one goal and only one of those was done by a top three team.
With many teams heading back into state tournament play and bye weeks limiting league play in Novermber, this may be the last time points are available for awhile for some. Here's the full recap:
Saturday, October 26
Manhattan Celtic v. Afghan FC NY (0-1)
No goal scorer information provided by Afghan FC NY
The six game winning streak came to an end for Manhattan Celtic in Saturday’s only game. The team fell to Afghan FC NY, 1-0, as the new D2 side earned its third victory of the year.
Celtic head coach Matthew Kane said afterwards that he knows his team’s struggles aren’t going to gather much sympathy from others in the division.
“It's a result that according to official social media accounts and the Cosmo Leagues made a lot of teams very happy,” Kane said in an email. “NYC Afghan deservedly won. Congrats to them and it is a good thing for us.”
The team now has the three week stretch of Williamsburg International FC, Real Olé FC, and Polonia Gwardia NY ahead as it still sits at the top of the table. Afghan meanwhile has more middle table competition as its defense ramps up productiviting, only allowing one goal in the last three games. If the offense can follow suit the team may be able to pick up more points down the line.
Sunday, October 27
NYPD FC v. FC Ulqini (5-2)
No goal scorers provided by either team
Two teams struggling in the bottom half of the Division 2 table kicked off Sunday play in Flushing, Queens. One of them has been the definition of mid-table team, beating weaker sides but almost always struggling against teams in the upper standings, while the other is a wildcard that can destroy great teams with top offense and struggle the next week due to player availability.
This week, the latter had the right formula as NYPD FC jumped to six points and now sit just behind FC Ulqini in the standings.
NYPD have beaten both Ulqini and Williamsburg International FC this season and scored five or more goals in both games. Meanwhile in loses the team has almost always been shutout except for 2-1 loss against Afghan FC NY back in September. It’s opponent, Ulqini, has only played one other game this month in CSL competition and lost that as well.
Hoboken FC 1912 v. Stal Mielec NY (3-2)
No goal scorer information provided by Stal Mielec NY
Kevin Halliday scored only minutes into his team's game against Stal Mielec NY. The rainy day ended with two more goals for Hoboken FC 1912 as the New Jersey side picked up three more points behind.
James Reed fed Halliday with a terrific pass to set up the opening score before Tom Hogue made it 2-0 thanks to a goalkeeper error outside the box. The final goal was an important for Mario Unanzor as the 1912 player scored his first ever club goal after a scramble in the box set him up with the ball.
Despite being down, the 2019 Division 2 semi-finalists fought back on the road and gave goalkeeper Jon-Paul Francini to make several saves. The team did pull back two late goals in the last 10 minutes but couldn’t find an equalizer.
After the game, Francini, who also serves as a team manager, said that his team has a tough challenge ahead which means little time to dwell on the hard fought win.
“We now train and prepare for a challenging road fixture against unbeaten Richmond (County FC),” Francini said. “We know they will be a tough opponent and look forward to a good match.”
NY Ukrainians v. Richmond County FC (3-3)
Richmond County FC dropped points for the first time this season as the team settled for a draw against NY Ukrainians, 3-3.
The Ukrainians late third goal now means Richmond, which still has two games in hand over the top three, sits in fourth place with 13 pts. The group had chances to put the game away further as time wore on but poor final passes cost them the extra two points. Alban Zekaj and Peter Zime both scored for County with the later also assisted on a goal. The final score for the team came off an incredible free kick conversion from John Gurel, who angled a shot from the right side of the field into the upper opposite corner past a jumping keeper.
Nicolai Walters, Maged Alkasimi, and Gilbert Bayonne all scored for the Ukrainians during the 90 minutes with Gamil Yahya and Alkasimi earning assists as well. The Ukrainians have slowly begun to earn more points as the season progresses and now sit at 9, firmly in the upper half of the table and within striking distance of major competition.
Manhattan Kickers v. Williamsburg International FC
No information available
DeSportiva Sociedad NY v. Polonia Gwardia NY (5-4)
No goal scorer information provided by Polonia Gwardia NY
One week after earning its first Division 2 win, DeSportiva Sociedad NY made it two in-a-row after the team overpowered Polonia Gwardia NY, 5-4. The win is DSNY’s biggest so far in the second tier while Polonia’s struggles have possible reached a new low.
Nicolas Garcia scored a hat-trick for DSNY's big win, his second of the season, with his first goal cutting Polonia's 3-1 lead down to one before halftime. He was assisted by Jariga Camara and the two connected in the final 15 minutes of the game while their team was down by two once again. Their work came after Jaytornah Wisseh opened the scoring early, assisted by Diego Cisneros, and gave DSNY the early lead.
With time winding down, Garcia scored the tying goal and secured his team at least a point but in the closing moments Matt Wagner sent a stunning diagnonal pass to Diego Camara in the box, who slotted away the game winner.
Polonia have now lost in two consecutive weeks to teams with under one win and are now sitting with a record of 1-3-3 (6 pts). The team that finished last season as a Division 2 finalist and won the promotion playoff the year prior (but declined) has been limping into 2019-20. The Polish side relied heavily on its defense last season to bail out an average offense, and with the former lacking this season it appears more teams are able to take advantage.
DSNY now has momentum moving forward and has a match against Central Park Rangers FC this weekend with both teams needing three points. The inaugural season may have started rough but with only two league games in November there’s still time to climb into the middle of the table and be cemented for DeSportiva.
Real Olé FC v. Beyond FC (6-3)
Third goal scorer for Beyond FC not confirmed
Real Olé FC got back into a high offense mode after two multi-goal loses in its past three games. The team welcomed and defeated Beyond FC, 6-3, at Red Wing Park in Sunday’s last game.
The lose for Beyond comes at a poor time for Beyond as its next league action does not come until November 17 due to tournament games and bye weeks. Despite two goals and an assist by James Cousins the team’s defense could not hold back to potent ROFC attack meaning these lost points will be a sticking point for awhile.
Both Nick VonEgypt and Patrick Alvarez scored twice for Olé with the latter also assisted on a goal. Other goals came from Omar Hibbert and Kevin Davis while further assists were credited to Hibbert, Jack Balasiano, Tejorn Davis, and Edison Sanchez.
Real now sits one point behind second place Hoboken FC 1912 (16 pts) and three points behind Manhattan Celtic (18 pts) with all three having played seven games.