Promotion & Relegation Hunts Heat Up in Week 17, Celtic & Shamrock SC Tie

By Michael Battista / @MichaelB_96

Promotion & Relegation Hunts Heat Up in Week 17, Celtic & Shamrock SC Tie

The Hoboken FC 1912 first team following their match against Beyond FC in Week 17 (Credit: Hoboken FC 1912/Jean-Laurent Gaudy)

Week 17 in Division 1 may have been one of the most intriguing weekends this season. While all the attention was focused on the matchup between #1 New York Shamrock SC and #2 Manhattan Celtic three other matches produced huge results that could affect who we see next season. To say both the Manhattan Kickers and Polonia SC had bigger weekends than the top two is saying something.

Full recap below:

Sunday, April 25
Polonia SC vs New York Greek Americans II (3-0)
No goal scorer information provided by Polonia SC
Week 17 started with a bang. Going into the weekend Polonia SC had scored the least goals of any Division 1 team. On Sunday morning they scored three unanswered and held a clean sheet over New York Greek Americans II.

Greeks manager Frank Bouklis explained his team was shorthanded for the match (key players out for National Cup action with the Over-30s), but he knows there is no excuse for this kind of result. He expects a quick turnaround for this weekend’s match against Richmond County FC.

For Polonia, the win and Real Olé FC’s point deduction pushes them into 10th place (9 pts), one point outside of the relegation zone. Their match this Sunday night against Manhattan Kickers (8 pts) may very well determine which one of the two teams falls down to Division 2 next season. More on that below.

Beyond FC vs Hoboken FC 1912 (1-7)
No goal scorer information provided by Beyond FC
Hoboken FC 1912 made a statement on Sunday afternoon. While the headliner match later in the day had more anticipation, Hoboken’s domination in the New Jersey derby with Beyond FC helped remind the two frontrunners that the oldest team in this league still has some fight.

Timor Tcherniavski’s hat-trick performance would have been enough for the three points by itself. The stricker’s work pushed his season total to eight and slid him into the Top 5 of the D1 top goal scorers list. He opened the game with a goal and bookended it with the final two scores. Eric Terzer, Peter Martin, and James Reed all assisted on those goals.

Hoboken head coach Steve Korfiatis said afterwards that players like Timor, Reed, and Teddy Sisco all benefited from his team spreading the attack around.

“Offensively we knew we had to do a good job of spreading the ball around the field and forcing Beyond to stretch across the pitch,” he said in an email. “That gave us the opportunity to find gaps in their defensively line and play through our wing players.”

Reed, Sisco, Daniel Herrera, and Justinian Michaels all scored one goal each during the match (Herrera and Joe Braun also had assists, while Tcherniavski aided two additional goals). While Beyond took one back via a successful penalty kick during the second half overall the “visitors” (on a field they also call home) never seemed out of control. The center players, both in the defensive mid and backline, suffocated Beyond’s passing meaning long term plans were difficult to push through. The opposing forward’s seemed to have less time on the ball than others on Beyond’s side.

It was a performance where Korfiatis believes the whole team should qualify for MVP.

Beyond will visit Kelmendi FC NY on Sunday night for their Week 18 match. Meanwhile, Hoboken has a juicy matchup with New York Shamrock SC the same day. Due to the other results this week Hoboken still has a fighting chance to reach the top spot, securing the title and a chance at promotion.

“We've faced a lot of ups and downs this year but the players are full of hunger and desire, not only to win but to continue to be committed to improving as a team,” said Korfiatis. “The boys remain focused for our state cup quarterfinal match (Wednesday) but also are really looking forward to taking on Shamrock this Sunday. Since our loss to Celtic we've made it point to keep the pace and give ourselves a real chance at promotion.”

Real Olé FC vs Kelmendi FC NY
The match between Real Olé FC and Kelmendi FC NY has been postponed. This is currently under investigation and will be updated when information becomes available.

Richmond County FC vs Stal Mielec NY (4-1)
Richmond County FC beat Stal Mielec NY, 4-1, in the first of Sunday’s night caps. The result is County’s first win since mid-March.

James Haddad opened the scoring off an assist from Jonard Kadriu and his teammates followed suit not long after. Albert Ruci, assisted by Peter Zima, and Kadriu both knocked in goals to put the game out of reach for the visitors. Despite a Stal goal from Patryk Majkut, his fourth of the season, Ruci punched one more in for Richmond with an assist from Mark Shnadshteyn.

Richmond will look to keep the momentum going off an upset-shaken New York Greek Americans II side this Sunday. Stal meanwhile will kick of Week 18 with a match against Manhattan Celtic on Saturday night.

Manhattan Celtic vs New York Shamrock SC (2-2)
In the main match of Week 17, the intense battle between Manhattan Celtic and New York Shamrock SC did not disappoint. The 90 minutes included multiple momentum swings, a red card send-off for the Rocks, and finished with each team leaving with one point.

The opening twenty minutes showed off a Celtic attack that was bolstered by the returning Marco Charnas. Multiple opportunities to score on the table leaders presented themselves but the Rocks held up. A hard challenge by New York’s Charlie O'Loughlin produced a yellow card that became critical later on. Meanwhile, the high offense from the home side actually allowed the visitors to take the lead.

A ball into the Celtic box was not dealt with properly by the defense and careened off the back post where the rebound was met by the on-rushing Cesar Buitrago. His crushing strike slammed into the back netting and put Shamrock up, 1-0. It didn’t last though, as the player Celtic head coach Matthew Kane named the match MVP stepped up. The ever-reliable Cesar Serna took advantage of a freekick outside the box and clipped a shot right off the head of keeper James Whyte to tie the game back up.

After the intermission, it was the Rocks turn to come out swinging. Full backs began to assert their dominance and aided and abetted the busy Raphael Carvhalo and Darren Coleman who gave Celtic's midfielders no time on the ball and began to build a stable attacking platform for the Rocks. A free kick 25 yards out finally gave Shamrock the chance to pounce and following confusion in the box Joey Aronovsky kicked in the go-ahead goal.

With time running out O'Loughlin yellow came back to haunt him when a reckless shove earned him a second yellow card, meaning his team had to finish the match with only 10 players. The already pushing Celtic caught the break and Serna was able to find Charnas and tied the game with minutes to spare.

“This was one of the toughest games I’ve been involved in,” said Shamrock SC head coach Patrick Geraghty. “Both teams showed how much they wanted to win the league and a draw was a fair result on the night. We are disappointed not to hold to a lead with 10 mins left but the result keeps our chances in our own hands with five games left. Manhattan Celtic are a quality side led by a fantastic coach and we’ll need to keep winning as they’ll likely do the same.”

The draw means that Celtic remain three points behind Shamrock for first place. Even if the leaders lost a game and Celtic caught up, the Rocks would hold the tiebreaker advantage based on record (Celtic lost the fall meeting).

Shamrock will have its next biggest challenge of the season this weekend when it visits Hoboken FC 1912, who could play spoiler in their hunt for promotion. Celtic will host Stal Mielec NY this Saturday night.

Zum Schneider FC 03 II vs Manhattan Kickers (1-2)
With their backs against the wall, 10-man Manhattan Kickers defeated Zum Schneider FC 03 II, 2-1, in the final match of a wild Week 17.

The close match on Roosevelt Island is Manhattan’s first win since October 21 and head coach Bryan Baracaldo feels it was well deserved. With both teams scoreless midway through the second half, Kicker’s Gerson Lima was shown a second yellow and sent off. Zum took little time to capitalize and in the 65th minute Stephen Ojo struck, assisted by Chris De Abreau, to give his team the 1-0 lead.

Despite being down both in score and players on the field, the Kickers kept pushing and only a few minutes later the comeback began. Brian Morris fed a pass to Mahamadou “Remi” Diaby in the box, who slipped it past goakeeper Ricky Bowry’s left side into the net. Zum struggled to come together even with the advantage and two minutes later in the 70th minute Diaby was able to strike again. A James Zaidan free kick and rebound attempt from the top of the 18 eventually found the forward who simply tapped in what would be the winning goal.

The final 20 of Kickers’ defense capped off what Zum head coach Ryan Horch called an “awful performance” with his team unable to equalize. For Baracaldo he was feeling the exact opposite.

“All the guys who showed were MVPs,” he said. “From Brian and Remi up top, to JB and Rashid in the back, Jordan making some great saves, Pierre who played two games (reserves and first team), Fookee and Tenzin holding the Left side at bay when Gerson got a red card, James dropping in to play defensive mid. We all played our role.”

The Kickers have a critical match against Polonia SC this Sunday night on Randalls Island. Zum II is scheduled to play Real Olé FC the same day.

What to watch for in Week 18
There’s a few things to keep in mind this weekend:

  • With Real Olé FC dropping into relegation territory due to forfeits, that means one team has a chance to escape this Sunday. Polonia SC leads Manhattan Kickers by one point in 10th place. A win by the Polish side will put some heavy distance between them and Manhattan, while the Kickers could push Polonia back into the relegation zone with a win.
  • The draw between Manhattan Celtic and New York Shamrock SC puts Hoboken FC 1912 in a great place to cause chaos this weekend. If Hoboken beats The Rocks on Sunday, not only could Celtic jump up and tie the table leaders on points but Hoboken could keep pace for the chance at promotion into the Eastern Premier Soccer League. If Shamrock wins however, the chances of promotion for Hoboken or a title for Celtic become very slim considering the rest of the schedule.












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