After over a decade of play in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League, Sporting SC will finally play in the top division after winning the second promotion spot over Polonia Gwardia NY, 3-0, on Wednesday night. The team will join KidSuper Samba AC in Division 1 next season while Central Park Rangers Whites and Hoboken FC 1912 return to Division 2.
Club manager and founder Ed Romero said after the game that he was proud of the team’s accomplishment. While the roster won’t be the same next year he and the group are up for the challenge nonetheless.
“We are excited about the opportunity,” Romero said in an email. “Unfortunately this team will not be the same next year since many of our players will be leaving to play overseas. Some are just retiring. We will start the process all over again but it was a hell of a ride for these group of players. They went undefeated for 22 games (12 league games – 5 state cup games – 3 friendlies – 2 promotion playoff games). We are excited about going into D1. We can’t wait.”
Only a few days removed from winning the Eastern New York State Soccer Association (ENYSSA) Jack Flamhaft Cup, Sporting had issues playing against Division 2’s best defense early on. The team that only let up 14 goals in the regular season through 16 games seemed to recover from the five goals allowed in the championship game a week ago. Sporting’s wingers such Kendan “PimPim” Anderson and Don “Messi” Oba had time to get balls down the side and allow teammates to run into the area but missed crosses, great saves, and wide shots all amounted to no goals for the team. A few counter-attack chances for Polonia also came but the defending promotion playoff winners had just as much trouble finding the back of the net.
When play resumed in the second half the game swung in Sportings favor. The team locked down Polonia from advancing too deep into their end and brought on Carlos “CG3” Garcia. The fresh feet made an impact in the 63rd minute when, after receiving a throw pass, got into the PGNY box and slipped the ball past the diving keeper.
The D2 South champions didn’t fall off completely and nearly brought the game back into reach in the 70th minute. A pass in the box set up a Polonia player for a near clear chance for a goal. His header looked to be in but Sporting keeper Laurence Girard made a diving block and forced the ball away from the goal line. This was PGNY’s best chance of the half as Oba and Anderson both combined for a goal each as well before the final whistle.
With the team he had started over a decade ago as a family club with mostly relatives heading to the top division as a offensive power, Romero has a warning for his future competition.
“We just want to say one thing to all the D1 teams; Welcome to the Bronx!”