Just when things seem like a forgone conclusion, they can turn on a dime. With only two weeks left in the regular season, Division One is still up for grabs across the board. Only one team knows they'll be playing in Division Two next year while the champion has not been decided yet. The current leaders could have moved one step closer to a champaign shower but instead a last-minute draw has set up an interesting final two weeks.
Sunday, May 16, 2021
Polonia SC vs Kelmendi FC NY (3-4)
No goal scorer information provided by Polonia SC
Kelmendi FC NY pulled double duty with their 4-3 win on Sunday morning. The result keeps the side in the hunt to finish in the top four while it also gives the Manhattan Kickers hope that they can escape relegation.
The four goals are the most Kelmendi has scored in a single match since February, which was also against Polonia in a fall make-up game. In order, the goals were scored by Anthony Ferrandino, Eduard Necaj, Lekocaj Valdrin, and Mirdon Habibaj (Necaj and Valdrin assisted on the third and fourth goals, respectively).
The team will host Hoboken FC 1912 on Randalls Island this Sunday in Week 21. Polonia meanwhile has two games to play next week as they hope to keep out of the bottom two. The team will visit Beyond FC on Sunday afternoon before playing on Tuesday night against title hopefuls Manhattan Celtic.
New York Shamrock SC vs Zum Schneider FC 03 II (2-2)
In what can either be a road bump or a brick wall in New York Shamrock SC’s Division One title hunt, the team tied Zum Schneider FC 03 II on Sunday afternoon at Frank Principe Park. The draw means Manhattan Celtic are now four points behind the Rocks with a game in hand.
In the early game, Zum head coach Ryan Horch said Shamrock SC did what they do best, punish mistakes. Joey Aronovsky got the ball in the Zum end with the backline unorganized and put in a tidy shot that the goalkeeper had no chance of stopping.
In the second half, under order from Horch to stay organized and compact, Zum held the first division’s best offense back and got more chances on net. Then with 10 minutes to play, Lucas Doucette swung in a set piece that was headed home by Zum’s leading scorer Stephen Ojo to tie the game at one goal each. With so little time left, Shamrock’s attack right off the restart caused trouble. With less than five minutes left and momentum on their side, leading scorer Kurt Cameron put his team back up and seemed to secure the title.
The problem was that no one told Zum that. With so little time and every player pushed up, the visitors earned a corner kick deep into stoppage times. Doucette set in the ball from the set piece and somehow found the head of central defender Evan Kostylev, who angled in his team’s second tying goal with the last play of the game.
Rocks head coach Coach Patrick Geraghty spoke about the game afterwards in his team’s report.
“We got the tough game we expected from Zum Schneider this week. They deserve a lot of credit for their efforts and we’ll hopefully learn some lessons from the game too. We have another tough game on Saturday night against a resurgent Manhattan Kickers side that are fighting against relegation. We’ll need to be at our best to get a result.”
As for Horch, his team’s next match against Richmond County FC this Sunday has even more meaning following that performance.
“When it was 1-1, I thought a draw was a deserved result given the nature of the game,” said the Zum head coach. “I can't say enough about the resolve of this team to fight back down, 2-1, to earn the point back. With this result and the draw this spring against Celtic we've shown we can compete at the highest level of this league. Now we have a shot to finish 4th which given everything of the last season, and with Covid and our boys going to EPSL, would be a major accomplishment and in years past good enough to be in the playoffs. We look forward to the final two games.”
Beyond FC vs Manhattan Kickers (2-7)
No goal scorer information provided by Beyond FC
As a team with it’s backs to the wall, Manhattan Kickers have started to find a groove at the end of the spring. Against Beyond FC the team controlled almost the entire game with five separate players finding the back of the net.
Both Remy Werarson and Brian Morris scored two goals each, while Francois-Xavier Thiolliere, James Zaiden and Jean Baptiste all scored one each. This all came after Beyond took an early lead off a corner kick, which head coach Bryan Baracaldo said lit a fire under his players to bounce back.
“When we have our first team players, this is what we are capable of and hopefully it will continue for our last two games which we need to take as playoffs,” said Baracaldo after the match in an email.
The Kickers’ next match will be against New York Shamrock SC on Saturday night in what could be a deciding match for both teams. That game will be live streamed through Coaches Corner and should be considered “must watch.” Beyond will host Polonia SC on Sunday afternoon.
Stal Mielec NY vs Hoboken FC 1912 (1-3)
No goal scorer information provided by Stal Mielec NY
Knowing his team is going to play in the New Jersey State Open Cup semifinals tonight (Wednesday), Hoboken FC 1912 head coach Steve Korfiatis made the most of his roster in Sunday afternoon’s league match against Stal Mielec NY. While his team walked away with a 3-1 win he admits it wasn’t easily achieved.
“It was a tough match for us in general as we were trying to give alot of our players some rest before our big state cup semifinal match tonight,” said Korfiatis. “We have a number of guys also nursing injuries. Stal are a tough side and always seem to come into our matches trying to make life difficult for us.”
Off the first whistle Stal’s front line pushed up and the midfield caused Hoboken to make costly errors. Five minutes into the match, a foul in the box allowed the home side to take an early lead via a penalty kick.
Following this though, Hoboken steadily began to take back the came while Stal moved more into a deep defensive motion. Korfiatis’ team countered by playing more along the sides and eventually it paid off when Anthony Carracino found Peter Martin who buried the tying goal midway through the first half. While the second half started much like the first did, Stal’s energy was nowhere to be found and 1912 peppered their end with chances.
Kevin Halliday got on the end of a loose ball and buried it from inside the 18 later on in the match, before assisting on Martin’s second goal.
“Credit to some of the boys who haven't been getting alot of time being able to come into this match and the last few to really have an impact on the team,” said Korfiatis.
Hoboken will visit Seft FC tonight in the New Jersey Cup Semifinals for a chance to play FC Motown in the title game. Following that, they will visit Kelmendi FC NY this Sunday evening on Randalls Island. Stal will also be on Randalls later that night in a match against New York Greek Americans II.
New York Greek Americans II vs Manhattan Celtic (1-6)
No goal scorer information provided by New York Greek Americans II
Manhattan Celtic did not let an unannounced bye week derail it’s momentum. Following last week’s postponement the team came out and beat New York Greek Americans II, 6-1, in Sunday night’s main event. Division 1 leading scorer Marco Charnas has returned to full form following injury and scored three goals in the match, his second hat-trick in as many games.
Celtic head coach Matthew Kane was happy with the weekend’s result and glad to see his team is following his instructions from a few weeks back.
“Our goal for the remainder of the season is to set ourselves apart from every team we are playing and we did that,” said Kane.
Kwadwo “Kojo Asante played one of his best games of the season for Manhattan. The home team’s backline struggled to contain him and he assisted on two goals for his team (including the opener by Charnas). Meanwhile, Dan Korman assisted on Marco’s second goal.
Another massive performance came from the returning Diego de la Fuente. Following a hamstring injury in Week 1, de la Fuente returned to the First team for the first time on Sunday night. As a second half sub, he scored his team’s fourth goal, assisted by Daniel Arvidson, and later assisted on Charnas’ third score.
Cesar Serna and Marques Mayoras wrapped up the scoring, with Kojo getting his second assist on the latter’s goal.
Manhattan has a busy week ahead as they visit Real Olé FC on Sunday before hosting Polonia SC on Tuesday night in a make-up game from last week. Likewise, Greeks II will host Richmond County FC on Thursday (tomorrow) before hosting Stal Mielec NY on Sunday night.
What to watch for in Week 21: