Kelmendi FC NY and New York Shamrock SC play under the bright lights of the Triborough Bridge (Credit: Kelmendi FC NY)
A lot of close games in Week 16. The Cosmopolitan Soccer League Division 1 title race is gearing up for next weeks clash between first and second place. However, before that can happen Manhattan Celtic played Zum Schneider II in a match that may also have a direct impact on the title. Besides that Stal Mielec broke its three game losing streak while New York Greek Americans II played a gruling stretch.
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Stal Mielec NY vs New York Greek Americans II (1-5)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
Week 16 kicked off with two teams playing on short rest. New York Greek Americans II didn’t play like it though, scoring five goals and narrowly missing a clean sheet in their make-up against Stal Mielec NY.
The win keeps Greeks II in the tight middle table race. Currently, fourth and eighth place are separated by three points. In a normal year this would be a battle for the final playoff spot. Despite the elimination of the playoffs, the chance to finish in the top four is still a huge opportunity. For Greeks II, the chance to show the EPSL reserve team can hang with the CSL’s best is enough motivation.
Sunday, April 18
Polonia SC vs Richmond County FC (2-2)
No goal scorer information provided by Polonia SC
Sunday’s slate started with Polonia SC drawing Richmond County FC, 2-2. While the former team does jump Manhattan Kickers in the standings, both are still in the relegation zone with chances to earn three points running out.
Richmond’s goals were scored by Mark Shnadshteyn and Ady Gaye, assisted by Peter Zima and James Haddad respectively. Shnadshteyn’s score was his sixth of the season, moving him into a crowded field of at least five other players with the same amount.
Richmond will host Stal Mielec NY this Sunday night at Owl Hollow Field (Staten Island, NY) and Polonia will look to earn points again against New York Greek Americans II earlier that day.
Hoboken FC 1912 vs New York Greek Americans II (1-0)
A close match for Hoboken FC 1912 ended with them earning three points. Louis Mobbs’ lone goal pushed his team over New York Greek Americans II and pushed him into a tie for first place on the CSL top goal scorers list.
With 14 goals this season, Mobbs ties Manhattan Celtic’s Marco Charnas for the top spot as the latter continues to heal an injury that has sidelined the past month. Outside of that goal though head coach Steve Korfiatis was underwhelmed by his team's performance.
"The team was having a bit of an off day in all departments," he said after the match. "We never seemed to really click offensively and were not organized enough defensively."
His team was able to get more chances than Greeks II, which eventually lead to the goal in the first half. A nice combination play led to Kevin Halliday turning his defender on the edge of the area, getting to the end line and cutting back to Mobbs who buried the opportunity from the penalty spot. Following that, Greeks II began bringing pressure and the rest of the match was a "boring affair" according to Korfiatis, played mostly in the middle of the field.
Despite the disapointment, Korfiatis was happy not only for the three points but for the chance that his team learns from this. With his group missing a few elements, it allowed him and his players a chance to see how they play past that and cope with it.
Hoboken will meet Beyond FC for a New Jersey derby this Sunday afternoon. Meanwhile, Greeks II will visit Polonia SC on Sunday morning.
Stal Mielec NY vs Manhattan Kickers (2-0)
The struggles continued for Manhattan Kickers as the team fell, 2-0, to Stal Mielec NY. The win broke the home team’s three game losing streak and kept them in the hunt for fourth place (usually a playoff spot in any other year).
The first half was evenly paced as both squads battled in the middle of the field. Winger Marcin Jaworek helped get his team on the board about 25 minutes in, servicing a cross to Radoslaw Ksepka who cleanly finished with a shot from the top of the box. A brief surge from Manhattan in the second was quietly handled by the Stal backline and goalkeeper Piotrek Holda. A great run by Patryk Majkut allowed the midfielder to feed Nick McBee for the game-sealing goal. An overall dominant display from the team, with special mention to Artur Zych who played 180 across the first and reserve team matches.
Stal will visit Richmond County FC this Sunday in what could be a sleeper match for both offenses. The Kickers will visit Zum Schneider FC 03 II the same night.
Real Olé FC vs Beyond FC (0-3 Forfeit)
This match was not played and the CSL arbitrator has awarded the forfeit win to Beyond FC. The reserve match between the two teams was also not played and also awarded to Beyond. Real Olé FC has been deducted six points, three for the first and reserve matches each, and now sits at nine points on the table.
Kelmendi FC NY vs New York Shamrock SC (1-2)
Two goals in the first half and a defense-heavy final 45 were enough for New York Shamrock SC to hold off Kelmendi FC NY, 2-1. The still undefeated Rocks were pushed against Kelmendi who have shot up the Division 1 table this spring.
Nikita Zhurulev and Rafa Carvalho both netted goals for the visiting side on Randalls Island. The offense struggled to get any meaningful attempts for the rest of the match however, and later on in the second half head coach Patrick Geraghty believes his team slowed down.
"We took our foot off the gas, gave away a soft goal at the start of the second half which changed the game, and we had to dig in and battle for the win,” Geraghty said in his team’s recap.
Kelmendi’s Mirdon Habiba scored early in the second half, assisted by Xhek Rragami, and cut New York’s lead in half. Despite pushes from both teams, the Rocks held enough and escaped with three critical points. The team will visit Manhattan Celtic this Sunday in a match that could determine the Division 1 champion. Kelmendi will play Real Olé FC the same day.
Zum Schneider FC 03 II vs Manhattan Celtic (1-1)
The biggest result of the weekend was a draw. Manhattan Celtic’s 1-1 tie with Zum Schneider FC 03 II may have jeopardized their chances at taking the Division 1 title.
Zum came out heavy on offense. Team manager Bobbak Khosravi and his team knew going in that Celtic were possessive, but as he explained the gameplay early on allowed them to proceed with their own offensive tactic. Striker Stephen Ojo opened up the scoring, dribbling past two players and slotting it past the keeper from the top of the box.
“Zum have recruited well over the winter period and it's clear to see why they've been doing well in the spring,” Celtic head coach Matthew Kane said afterwards. “Individually they had real quality and it was that individual quality that gave them the lead.”
Not long after, Celtic rebounded with a great goal from Daniel Arvidsson. A long ball from Jack Barrat found Arvidsson behind the backline, giving him space to run down the right side and chip Zum keeper Ricky Bowry as he came out to defend.
A more tactical second half from both teams saw multiple opportunities for the lead. One Celtic push seemed to lead to a goal before the linesman indicated the ball had gone out during the run of play, resulting in a throw-in. Bowery held his own form in net stopping three 1v1 chances for Celtic as well. Zum held the ball most of the half, earning praise from Khosravi and the rest of the coaching staff.
One bright spot for Celtic was the return of leading goal scorer Marco Charnas, who played 20 minutes and looks ready for next week’s big match.
Zum II will host Manhattan Kickers this Sunday night on Roosevelt Island, another chance to keep form in the middle of the table. Celtic have the biggest challenge this weekend as they face New York Shamrock SC in a battle of the table's top two. Sunday’s tie means even with a win, Celtic will be tied with the Rocks for first place on points meaning it comes down to tiebreakers (Shamrock currently has more goals scored and goal differential, and they won the last meeting 4-3). To coach Kane though the standings aren’t his main concern.
“Regardless nothing has changed, we need to beat Shamrock next week and there are still plenty more games left,” he said. “Focussing on standings right now is still premature.”