While most of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League enjoyed a week off for Easter, three games were played in Division 1 as teams look to make-up multiple fixtures. Hoboken FC 1912, Zum Schneider FC 03 II, Polonia SC, and Manhattan Kickers have all now played 14 games which equals them to most of the rest of the top tier teams. These games and their points could mean the difference betweem a title chase for some and relegation for others.
The three games produced 15 goals in total even though one of them ended in a scoreless draw.
Wednesday, March 31, 2021
Manhattan Kickers vs Hoboken FC 1912 (2-5)
On a soggy Pier 40 pitch, Hoboken FC 1912 pushed past the struggling Manhattan Kickers, 5-2, behind an offensive surge from Louis Mobbs. The CSL’s second most-proficient scorer this season netted a hat-trick and now sits at 12 goals after 14 games. Kelvin Brito and Timor Tcherniavski rounded out scoring for the visitors.
Kickers’ head coach Bryan Baracaldo explained after the game that his team’s struggles have been weighing on the group especially as the losses mount up.
“The rebuilding continues with another frustrating loss,” he said in an email. “We're going to need and fight for every ball if we intend to stay in this Division.”
Hoboken took the early lead off a corner kick tap in, where a redirected ball landed on the five-yard line for an easy tap in. Baracaldo, working as both a player and coach, employed a 3-5-2 formation to try and counter 1912’s heavy offense and for a time it kept the legendary side at bay. A quick motion to move an extra player to the backline and soon a counter-attack formed with Mokrane Ait Belkacem curling a shot from the left side of the 18-yard line passed the keeper in the 40th minute.
As the rain picked up in the second half, Baracaldo noted that despite the challenges his team had difficulty covering Hoboken over long distances.
“I have to say; their long balls and set pieces were the reason they won, we couldn't defend their wide players,” the head coach said. That tactic helped Hoboken retake the lead early after two misplaced Kicker defenders allowed a long pass and eventual goal from the five-yard line. Manhattan was able to counter thanks to a corner kick goal from Gerson Lima from the left of the PK spot, but his team continued to struggle.
Three goals from Hoboken in the final twenty minutes compounded this frustration for Baracaldo. His team’s fitness issues, as he describes it, alongside Hoboken playing to their strengths allowed the visitors to get the last kick and three points. He even thinks if he had moved players around more he could have countered Hoboken more and maybe turned their defensive strength and tight spacing into weaknesses.
“In my opinion, our team is on paper and including this game, one the most talented teams in the league,” Baracaldo said. “However our team dynamic is a work in process with so many new faces and our inability to come together as a unit to work for one another and start getting some results.”
Those results will need to start coming soon. The Kickers will visit Richmond County FC this Sunday at Owl Hollow Field. Hoboken will play Zum Schneider FC 03 II on Roosevelt Island later that night.
Thursday, April 1, 2021
Polonia SC vs Zum Schneider FC 03 II (0-0)
In what can only be described as a surprising result Polonia SC earned points for a second straight game after they tied Zum Schneider FC 03 II, 2-2. This followed up a short-rest win over Real Olé FC in Week 14, where unlike Thursday the team’s offense produced five goals.
Zum II head coach Ryan Horch said while his group had standout moments, like goalkeeper Ricky Bowry stopping two point blank shots to preserve the point, overall his team lacked form on offense.
"At the end of the day we lacked a bit of form in the final third,” Horch said in an email. “After a few games coming off the break we need to do a better job now into the heart of the spring season."
Polonia’s offense had chances to pick away at Zum’s backline but defenders like Evan Kostylev punched back and disrupted them enough to shift momentum. Both Soham Kutheria and Ryan Setian had chances to score the winning goal for the visitors but either missed the target or had their shots deflected by an equally hungry Polonia defence.
If Polonia took anything out of this match besides the point it will be put to the test this Saturday as they play first place New York Shamrock SC at Randalls Island Icahn Stadium. Zum II will host Hoboken FC 1912 the next night.
Saturday, April 3
Stal Mielec NY vs Real Olé FC (3-5)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
Real Olé FC earned its second league win in three weeks in Saturday’s only game against Stal Mielec NY. The 5-3 win is the biggest in terms of goals scored for Real this season, while also being the second highest loss for Stal in terms of goals against.
The win puts Olé at 12 points on the table and puts space between them and the relegation zone. Stal, sitting at 18 points, still has a game in hand and could jump Zum Schneider FC 03 II with a win and get back into 5th place in the upper half of the table.
Olé FC will visit New York Greek Americans II on Wednesday (tomorrow) to kick off Week 15 on the road. Then they’ll still be on short rest when they host Stal Mielec in their second meeting of the season this Sunday.