NY Pancyprian Freedoms striker Ryan Scheiderman in his days with Quinnipiac University. Quinnipiac Athletics Images
By Ralph "Onz" Chery |@onz_11
April 13th, 2018
In the midst of their best run of games in the CSL in the modern era, Cedar Stars Academy will host the only undefeated team in the league this Sunday, NY Pancyprian Freedoms, at Montclair State University in New Jersey at 9:00 p.m.
Cedar Stars are unbeaten in eight matches without having conceded a goal in their last seven outings. The club blanked amateur champions Lansdowne Bhoys 3-0 and 2017 Manning State Cup finalists NY Shamrock SC 7-0 in their winning run.
Cedar Stars Academy players after their 3-0 victory over Central Park Rangers on March 18th, 2018. Cedar Stars Academy Images
Despite Cedar's astonishing results, NY Pancyprians 23-year-old striker Ryan Scheiderman expressed that his side has what it takes to snap the Stars’ winning streak.
“I think that we have the ability to beat any team in the league on a good day, when we’re playing our game it can most certainly happen,” Scheiderman said.
The Freedoms owns a 7-0-4 record. The four teams they drew with were Zum Schneider F.C 3-3, Cedar, 2-2, Lansdowne, 1-1, and Shamrocks 1-1. The Queens-based club has the third best defense and the second best offense in the league, scoring 2.6 goals per game while allowing a goal per match.
As for their opponents, CSA, they lead the CSL in scoring and goals conceded by a rather large margin, netting, 3.75 goals a game and allowing 0.75 goals per match.
The two teams have some of the best young talents around the league. NY Pancyprian’s best young players are Pantelis Konomis, a 22-year-old defender who played professionally in Cyprus, ex-New York Red Bulls II midfielder Daniel Bedoya, who leads the Freedoms in goals and assists, netting the fifth most goals in the league, six, and tallying eight assists.
NY Pancyprian Freedoms midfielder Daniel Bedoya after taking a shot against NY Greek Americans. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
Scheiderman is also one of the Cypriot club’s young prospects. The New Jersey native tallied four goals in just seven appearances in his debut season with the club.
Meanwhile, CSA’s top youngsters are 21-year-old forward Walter Calderon, a NY Red Bulls youth product who outstandingly netted two goals and racked three assists in three CSL games; 2016 NJAC Player of the Year Michael Olla who scored four goals for CSA; Spain’s first-rate youth club Antiguoko product, fullback Joaquin Escudero and so on.
Scheiderman is thrilled that he’ll be playing against talents around his age.
“I love playing against players that are close to my age,” he said. “We probably, through some way or another, have some sort of acquaintance and we probably know of each other if we don’t know each other already. It’s nice to see how well other people who are in very similar shoes as me are doing.
“I’m sure they’re also a big impact on their team. I think it will be interesting with all the young energy, [let’s] see how we handle it.”
Although the match will overflow with top quality youngsters, Scheiderman’s marker probably won’t be close to his age as Cedar’s regular center backs this season has been 31-year-old Chris Riordan and 26-year-old Hani Nasr.
And the man that will stand in front of the young striker’s shots is a veteran keeper, 29-year-old former Paraguyan Primera Division player Bryan Lopez. The three has led CSA to, as mentioned, the best defense in the league, conceding nine goals in 12 outings.
When asked how he feels before playing the top backline in the CSL, Scheiderman said: “I don’t think about the other team, I try to play the best that I can and I try to do what the coach ask of me.
"And as well as we control the tempo and we control the game we should be able to come out on top and it also doesn’t matter whether I’m on the end of the goal. It will just come in the game and it will be an adaptive mentality of where I see weaknesses and where we as a team have advantages.”
Players to watch
Cedar Stars Academy: Attacking midfielder Christopher Katona
Christopher Katona in his time with Stockton Univerity. Stockton University Athletics Images
Christopher Katona leads the league in scoring, tallying 17 goals in Cedar Stars’ 12 matches. The New Jersey native also has a knack for sending his teammates on goals as he racked three assists in his last game versus NY Shamrock SC, which the Stars won 7-0.
Assistant coach Bujar Gata on Katona: “He works so hard, he doesn’t care what the score is he keeps working for 90 minutes.”
NY Pancyprian Freedoms: Playmaker Daniel Bedoya
Daniel Bedoya registered one goal and one assist in the club’s last league-game versus CSA, which ended 2-2. Bedoya leads the club in scoring and assists, tallying six goals and eight assists.
Freedoms striker Ryan Scheiderman on Bedoya: “He’s a great player, he came up in big games that I played in the past. He’s always been crucial and we’ve always needed him on the field so I think he will be a huge impact and I think he’s very likely to get on the end of a goal.”
Three key stats
1. Three players from the top 10 scorers chart will play in the encounter: Cedar Stars captain and top scorer Christopher Katona (17 goals), and NY Pancyprian players fourth top scorer Adam Himeno (seven goals) and fifth top scorer Daniel Bedoya (six goals).
These three players have also been nominated Player of the Week this season: Katona (three POTW nominations), Himeno (two POTW nominations) and Daniel Bedoya (one POTW nomination).
2. The fixture has been rather even in recent years. In the past five seasons, the Freedoms won the encounter four times, Cedar three times and they drew twice.
3. NY Pancyprians haven’t played a game since March 25th while the Stars played last week.
Cedar Stars Academy: W W W W W
NY Pancyprian Freedoms: W W T W W
Sept. 16th, 2017: NY Pancyprian 2-2 Cedar Stars Academy at St. John’s University Belson Stadium