New manager Bobbak Khosravi talks with Zum Schneider FC 03 II prior to kickoff (Credit: Ricky Bowry - Zum Schneider FC 03 II)
The Spring Season is officially underway in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League as every team was in action last weekend. While some like Manhattan Celtic, New York Shamrock, and Hoboken FC needed wins to keep title pace, others like Polonia SC or New York Greek Americans II needed points of any kind if they wanted spring to be better than the fall. Probably the most shocking result came in the first match back between a lower table side and one that’s just on the outside of the Top Four.
Now then, here is the full six game recap from Week 11:
Saturday, March 6
Manhattan Kickers vs, Stal Mielec NY (2-2)
The Spring opened on a high note as the Manhattan Kickers and Stal Mielec NY played out one of the week’s most competitive matches. In the end, both teams left with two goals and one point each.
Stal’s Patryk Majkut was able to get his team on the board first, following an error from the Kickers’ keeper that allowed Chris Karcz to gain possession and feed Majkut. For their part, Manhattan was able to move the ball around the field more precisely, catching Stal off guard on multiple occasions. Midway through the first half Albi Rexha found Danny Barry to tie the game back up at one each.
In the second half, Stal’s defense kicked it up and held back a surging Manhattan offense for the first 20 minutes. FX Thiolliere, Brian Morris and Rexha all had chances but it wasn’t until halfway through that Barry struck again to give the home side a lead.
Needing a goal and seeing a quick defensive miscue, Karcz one again pounced on the ball deep in Kickers’ territory before finishing off a shot from close range.
Overall, Manhattan head coach Bryan Baracaldo wasn’t thrilled with the result.
“Disappointing tie last night, both teams had chances but if I’m being objective, Kickers dominated possession and should have put the game away in the first half,” he said in an email. This is his team’s first time earning any points in a league game since mid-October.
Stal will host first place New York Shamrock SC this Sunday in a match that could seal any hope the fourth place side has for the title. The Kickers will look to improve against Kelmendi FC NY the same day on Randalls Island.
Manhattan Celtic vs. Richmond County FC (3-2)
In Saturday’s late match (kicking off after 9 PM), both Manhattan Celtic and Richmond County FC needed more than one point to make the evening worth it. The former is only one point out of first place while the latter is firmly situated in the middle of the table, looking for a way to bounce up. In the end, Celtic’s 3-2 win keeps them neck and neck with New York Shamrock SC.
In a match with five goals, only one player from each team found the back of the net during the 90 minutes. For Celtic, league leading Marco Charnas earned a hat-trick for his team and brought his season total to 12, something head coach Matthew Kane isn’t surprised by.
“He is simply the best player in the league,” Kane said in an email. “One season of goals can happen but consistently every season since he's joined the club is magnificent. Celtic is lucky to have him.”
Aboubacar Kaba assisted on two of Celtic’s goals while Daniel Arvidsson aided on the third.
Kane also explained that his team’s opponents on Sunday have enough talent to be challenging for first place in the division. Richmond’s Logan Tassin scored both goals for the visitors, with Ady Gaye assisting on one, and the rest of the offense presented multiple challenges for Celtic to handle.
“The winter break in this league can make or break you and I'm just glad we got over a really tough first game back,” Kane said. “As a team we must do better in conceding goals. We are making the same mistakes that have punished us in the games we drop points.”
Manhattan will need to keep up the momentum against Beyond FC this Sunday if they want to keep challenging Shamrock for the top spot. Meanwhile, Richmond will visit Hoboken FC 1912 is what could be a sleeper match for fans of high scoring games.
Sunday, March 7
Hoboken FC 1912 vs. Kelmendi FC NY (2-1)
No goal scorer information provided by Kelmendi FC NY
Kelmendi FC NY could not follow-up their win last weekend in the Spring Season opener, falling to Hoboken FC 1912, 2-1. Hoboken remains in third place, within earshot of the top spot. Daniel Herrera and Christopher Segovia each scored a goal for their team.
Kelmendi meanwhile sits in 7th place, just below the midway part of the table, with a match against the Manhattan Kickers scheduled for this Sunday. Hoboken meanwhile will take on Richmond County FC at home in an early afternoon game.
Zum Schneider FC 03 II vs. Real Olé FC (3-0)
Against a struggling Real Olé FC, Zum Schneider FC 03 II held back the visitor's attacks and opened fire in the second half to come away with the win, 3-0.
Coming off an impressive 4-0 win in the reserves match prior to the first team kicking off, Faissel Sanfo was asked to play double duty for his team along with a few others against Real. Assistant coach and goalkeeper Ricky Bowry praised his performance, calling him the MVP, which included two assists.
For his part Bowry stopped three to four goals during the first half as his team began it’s counter-attack. Soham Kathuria got the ball rolling with an opening score 25 minutes in, assisted by Jackson Mariani. Not to be outdone, Mariani took up the mantle ten minutes later and made it 2-0 after Sanfo found him in space during transition.
The second half was far more attack focused for Zum as Real struggled to get much offensive momentum. New Spring Season manager Bobbak Khosravi mentioned afterwards that one of his team’s star players struggled during this time.
“Stephen Ojo had 6 chances in the second half alone, including a penalty near the 70th, but was unlucky or out defended in all those chances,” Khosravi lamented in an email. For his part Ojo sits in fourth place in the league with six goals through the Fall.
With his team getting tired and injured, Real’s own counter-attack allowed them to get five shots on target. However, Bowry remained perfect as his team regrouped and regained the midfield. A tired and calf cramped Sanfo found new player Evan Kostylev late in the match for the final tap in to seal the result.
After one game, Khosravi was impressed with the entire unit’s effort across both games.
“Ricky with the clean sheet. Faissal was the man of our match. And Josh Ulane got his first call up from the reserves and played a full 90 with much maturity and confidence, after just serving 90 mins in the Reserve’s game.”
Zum II will visit Polonia SC this Sunday in Week 12 while Olé FC will take on New York Greek Americans II.
Polonia SC vs. Beyond FC (0-2)
Beyond FC opened the Spring Season against a Polonia SC team looking to rebound from a difficult fall. However, in both team’s first league match since December it was the visitors that came away with the two goal win and three points.
Jelani Pieters played a huge part for Beyond, who scored his team’s first goal and assisted on the game sealing second one by Sherief El-Helaifi.
“It’s been a difficult preseason but the boys looked ready for the opening match of the Spring,” said team manager A.J. Hamami. “Obviously I’m happy that we put away a couple of chances we got but I’m especially proud of the team with how we defended and getting the clean sheet.”
While his team turns it’s focus to next week’s match against second place Manhattan Celtic, the same team that beat Beyond 4-0 in the fall’s final game, Hamami’s side will have more momentum going into round two. Polonia will host Zum Schneider FC 03 II the same day.
New York Shamrock SC vs. New York Greek Americans II (4-1)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
With Manhattan Celtic already earning their three points the night prior, New York Shamrock SC needed a win against New York Greek Americans II in order to stay atop the Division 1 table. Any slipup now, especially right when play resumes, could mean the difference in a trophy hunt. For their part, the Rocks put on a dominant display and defeated Greeks II, 4-1, on Randalls Island.
Now sitting with 29 points, Shamrock SC will visit Stal Mielec NY this Sunday at McCarren Park as the latter looks to make up ground in the standings. Stal having two games in-hand that still need to be made-up means the team can still jump into the title picture, and a win against the top side in the table could be the best way to do that.
Greeks II will host Real Olé FC the same day in a match that has not been fully scheduled as of now. After 10 games, Greeks have not broken ten points this season and defense continues to be a major struggle. A match against one win Real may be the best thing for both teams looking for confidence early in the spring.
Note: Not many Fall Season make-ups took place over the last two months due to weather and safety concerns. Only the February 28th contest between Kelmendi FC NY and Polonia SC was played. The scoresheet is as follows:
Sunday, February 28
Kelmendi FC NY goal scorers:
Polonia SC goal scorer: