By Jay Mwamba
Winless the first five weeks of the season, United FC suddenly stirred to life last week. The Brooklyn side inflicted the first defeats on Pancyprian Freedoms and New York Rovers, ending both clubs’ hundred percent records in stunning back-to-back victories 72 hours apart.
Pancyprian were the first to fall at United’s Aviator Sports Complex last Thursday. Six-time USASA Amateur Cup winners, the Greek-Cypriots were bounced 3-2 at the first hurdle this time by a side they’d beaten by the same score line in the league six days earlier.
Adam Himeno, Paul Nitolli and Mashriqi Mohammed scored for the hosts while Ari Dimas and Phil Banister replied for Pancyprian who had not lost a game since last season.
Three days later, in a monumental upset, hitherto bottom side United run rampant on Randalls Island, thrashing Rovers 4-0 on Nitolli’s hat trick and a Himeno strike. It was their first league win while Rovers, 5-0 atop the East going into the match, lost for the first time. United manager Alex Zaretser said it was more a case of his team gelling than anything else.
“We are just starting to know each other since it’s a [brand] new team. It’s taken us four games to figure out the best formation,” he explained. “I think we can do even better [we] just need to get in better physical shape but otherwise I am very happy with the last two games.”
Grigol Ankladse got both goals in the United reserves’ 4-2 loss to Rovers.
Holders New York Greek Americans began their defense of the USASA Cup with a 3-0 romp over Westchester Real last Friday.
Chris Megaloudis, Keith Detelj and Pete Touros — with his first for the senior side — sent a spirited Real side reeling.
“We hit the woodwork a record seven times,” added coach Stavros Zomopoulos.
Two days later, the Greeks and Pancyprian battled to a goalless draw at the Metropolitan Oval in the first Hellenic “Clasico” of the campaign.
Stavros credited new Pancyprian Rafael Diaz, the former St. John’s University and Orlando City shot stopper for thwarting the Greeks in front of 400 spectators.
“We created a lot of chances but run into an incredible goalkeeping performance. He made a couple of saves that the whole crowd simply applauded,” observed Stavros.
The tie left Pancyprian [5-0-1, 16] still six points clear in the West and NYGA [3-1-1, 10] in second place, albeit with a game in hand.
The Greeks reserves prevailed 3-1 on goals by Felipe D’Agostin, Mario Gagliano and Adam Marcu.
“The [reserves] found a way to win, as they were just a superior side,” Stavros lauded his ‘B’ side.
New signing Karamba Janneh connected twice in the Lansdowne Bhoys’ 6-1 mauling of Hoboken FC at Laurel Hill Park that elevated the defending champs to third place in the East.
Sikele Slyvester [two] and Dubliner Stephen Roche [two] were also on target for the 3-2  Bhoys, now six points off the pace with a game in hand.
Cory Chaplin [9th] had drawn first blood for Hoboken whose reserves slipped 1-0.
Austin McCann [54th] and Jon Juchno [64th] made it two wins on the trot for Manhattan Celtic who saw off Stal Mielec 2-1 at Pier 5.
David Pinto had the Stal response.
“Great to get six points in these crunch games,” said young Celtic gaffer Matt Kane, who’s 23.
Stal’s Jacek Korba scored in the 1-1 reserve tie.
Bljerdi Bardic was the Clarkstown Eagles hero on Randalls Island, netting all the goals in a 3-1 decision over Central Park Rangers.
Mike Nieraeth, off Damian Lopez’s assist, scored for CPR, whose reserves won 6-2.
Hamza Deheina [two], Greg Moss [two], Alberto Sanchis and Dan Riso tallied.
Shamrock’s Mohamed Fofana notched a hat trick in 6-1 drubbing of Doxa FC at Van Buren High School that saw the Irishmen reclaim the lead in the second tier.
Santiago Rigby [two] and Joey Aronovsky contributed to the rout that put the Sunnyside Irishmen [4-1-1, 13] two points clear on the log.
Kurt Cameron had a late consolation for Doxa [3-1-2, 11] who had started the day a point ahead of the Rocks in the top-of-the-table clash.
“A great day for the Rocks with all three men’s team in top spot in their respective divisions,” noted first team boss Glen Wrafter, alluding to the victories by the Shamrock seconds and Over-30.
In the curtain raiser, Leandro Fregossi bagged a brace while Sean Hand had a goal in the Shamrock seconds’ 3-1 triumph. Jhonatan Dasilva was the Doxa scorer.
Steve Kovalenko’s methodical New York Ukrainians closed to within a point of second place in Division Two [3-1-1, 9] after flattening FC Japan 9-1 on Randalls Island.
David Alkasimi led all scorers with four goals, Aaron Kripack chalked up two while Adam Maliniak, Lukasz Prawdzik and Jesse Alexander accounted for the other goals.
Ukrainians’ players couldn’t miss in either game as the reserves also bagged a hatful of goals, eight with none conceded.
Gleb Mironenko had four in the encounter, Dimitri Jacob a hat trick and Kevin Young one.
Second Division champs CD Iberia posted their first win, 2-1 at Sporting Astoria’s expense on Randalls Island.
Iberia nicked it two minutes from time after pouncing on a defensive error. Earlier in the second half, debutant Don Harrison had latched onto Isaac Hidalgo’s back heel in the box to level for Sporting.
“For much of the game we had them pinned in their half,” said Astoria’s Ed Romero, who disputed two calls by the ref, including what he said should have been a penalty.
His reserves went on a scoring spree in a 5-2 victory. Hugo Abanto, Mamadou Falloh, Johan Quinde [two] and Steve Kouev tallied.
Mid-table NYPD FC put the collar on Polonia in a 2-all draw at McCarren Park. Rene Lopez and Nick Baum struck for the Cops.
Despite being the only unbeaten side in the second tier, Polonia [2-0-3,9] slipped to fifth position following wins by Shamrock and Ukrainians.
At East River Park, Maxwell Barfoe’s goal earned New York Supreme a share of the points from a 1-1 tie with Manhattan Kickers.
“We should have won the game. We created many chances but could not finish,” said Supreme’s Frederick Etsiakoh.
High scoring CPR Reds moved nine points clear in Metro Div. One East off a 5-1 pasting off Brishna at Flushing Meadow.
Brishna got off a false start after beating the offside trap, but the unbeaten Reds would hit back decisively. There were goals by Johnny Williamson [three], whose first from a Richie Kavanagh free kick tied the game, before Eric Pierot and Felipe Lima joined in the scoring.
The Reds improved to 5-0-1  nine ahead of New York Vllaznia, who succumbed 4-2 to defending Metro One champions Lansdowne Bhoys at Corporal Thompson Park.
Johnny McGeeney, Mark Finn [two] and Neil Maguire connected for Lansdowne.
In Metro Div. One East, leaders FC Gwardia produced another blowout with Gotham City their latest victims in an 8-1 shellacking at Bushwick Inlet.
Konrad Sobotka [two], Piotr Silski [two], Marcin Januszko, Bartlomiej Stolarczyk and Patryk Jarosz were among the scorers.
Missile FC registered their first victory of the campaign, a 3-0 thumping of Ridgewood on goals by Jo Valentin [two] and Eugene Jackson.
In other Metro One action, Andrew Maier connected from Nico Eceizabarrena’s corner in Gotham Argo’s 2-1 loss to Mr. Dennehy’s.
In a division where teams have been shooting the proverbial lights out, it was Mola SC’s turn to run up the score in an 8-2 trouncing of Metro City Fury Athletic FC at Red Hook.
Alessante Catalano [two], Vito Coldonato [two], Kanijah [two], Gianluca Palanca and Stefano Ingravallo put Fury to the sword, propelling undefeated Mola [4-0-1, 13] into joint second in Metro Div. Two in the process.
Inform Joaco Lynch made it nine goals in two games with five for Barnstonworth Rovers in a 7-3 drubbing of Bravehearts at McCarren Park. The scoring outburst brought his early season tally to 11.
“Joaco is on fire,” remarked Rovers’ Juan González Casares.
Dave Leboff was credited with netting for both teams, while Toni Obi registered his first career goal for Rovers. Bravehearts discounted Leboff’s own goal and credited William Garcia [two] and Clement Osbert for their strikes.
SC Eintracht fell 1-0 to a late Matt Vega goal for AO Brooklyn.
Pirro Cece and Elsen Kodra [85th] dug FC Partizani out of a two-zero first half hole to tie NYFC Iliria 2-2 in their Albanian derby on Randalls Island.
Williamsburg International’s decline, meanwhile, continued in Metro Two with a 7-0 spanking by new leaders FC Spring Valley Huerto United.
Paddy McCarry’s Over-30s are now 5-0 , three points clear in Div. One East after holding off BW Gottschee 3-2 on Randalls Island.
Sebastien Thiol [1st], Tayfun Gokmen [35th] and Richie Brennan [60th] had the Rocks 3-0 up before Edison Pazymino [76th, 88th] got two back.
“We fell asleep,” McCarry conceded. “Not our best performance but we got the win and the three points. We’re off to a good start.”
Later on Randalls Island, Birahim Diop scored twice in the last five minutes as Manhattan Celtics Legends came from a goal down to beat Barnstonworth Premier 2-1 and stay within a shout of McCarry & Co.
Mike Butler bagged the Barnstonworth goal.
Jack Vivonetto converted a 44th minute penalty to salvage a 1-1 tie for Manhattan Kickers Over-30s against CPR Grays.
Big Mike Schall between the Kicker posts had earlier saved spot kick before the Grays went ahead.
“We were really lucky the opponents gifted us that penalty otherwise, I’d be really [peeved] to have lost the game so tamely,” said Kickers Eddie Yee Woo Guo.
Sister club and defending Over-30 champs Kickers Premier capitulated 5-3 against New York Dinamo. Stu Kaiser [35th], Bernard Sheary [55th pen.] and Joe Whiteman [80th] scored.
Kyriakos Mallias and Dennis Katira handed New York Greek Americans the Over-30 Greek bragging rights in the CSL with a 2-1 result over Megas Alexandros at Van Buren High School.
In Over-30 Div. Two, James Carrico scored twice including the acrobatic match winner for Nieuw Amsterdam who pipped Guyana Veterans 4 -3.
Ronnie Swinkels and Josh Salsi had the other goals.
Across the Hudson, Youcef Mami and Souley Mane Diallo each scored twice in Manhattan Celtic Bhoys’ 4-1 defeat of Hoboken FC at Sinatra Park.
Later at Sinatra Park, Ugo Solinas set up Steve Teesdale for CPR Legends’ leveler in a 1-1 Over-35 tie with Hoboken FC Veterans.
The goal earned Teesdale his first Legends “Old Man of the Match” award, reported coach Manohar Venkataraman.