FC Japan players celebrate their first win of the 2019-20 season over Polonia Gwardia NY on Sunday, October 13 (Credit: FC Japan)
The second division of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League continued with a few surprises and expected results in Week 5 of play. The two remaining undefeated teams remained that way while a handful picked up their first wins of the year. Teams such as Williamsburg International FC and Polonia Gwardia NY drew surprise loses against a variety of oppoents as the standings table continues to shift week to week.
Here's the full recap for the weekend.
Saturday, October 12
Manhattan Celtic v. Beyond FC (2-0)
In a game where Beyond FC was down three players due to suspension / ineligibility, the New Jersey side could not overcome the odds and fell, 2-0, to Manhattan Celtic.
Celtic head coach Matthew Kane said after the game that despite his team being perfect through five games they haven’t played to their full potential.
We have yet to have a full strength squad since game one and we have constantly been using our reserve rostered players,” Kane said in an email. “We are so far happy with the strength in depth we have.”
Beyond’s undefeated record to start the season came to an end after goals from Niko Calder and Austin Alphonse, assisted by Dan Korman and Sam Friedman, broke the line and left the group without many chances to come back. The team’s best opportunities came from set pieces which were dealt with quickly by the Celtic back-line. Though the pushes kept the eventual winners on their toes for the full 90 minutes, something Kane knew coming in against a difficult opponent.
“Beyond made the game really difficult and showed why they had not lost up until that game,” he explained.
Sunday, October 13
Polonia Gwardia NY v. FC Japan (0-3)
Sunday’s first game was a huge result for FC Japan. The team picked up its first win of the season over last year’s Division 2 finalist Polonia Gwardia NY, 3-0. The team the allowed the fewest goals in all of D2 in 2018-19 gave up its biggest margin of the young year.
Two first half goals attracted passing park goers in McCarren Park in the early morning. Danny Ospina and Naoki Sekikawa both got Japan up by two heading into halftime off calculated strikes and set-ups. Polonia’s defense struggled to keep back advances as players found more gaps as time progressed. A final second half goal by Tatsuya Otani saw the game out, while both Ken Mochizuki and Kensuke Kobayashi picked up assists during the 90 minutes.
The win for Japan and loss for Polonia puts the two teams within one point of one-another in the lower half of the table. The slow start for both teams, including three straight 1-1 draws for PGNY, has created a large gap between them and some of the teams at the top of the table.
NYPD FC v. Williamsburg International FC (6-4)
An upset win for NYPD FC, 6-4, gave the team its first win of the season over Williamsburg International FC behind an incredible offensive performance.
On a day where WIFC honors players John Erganian and Jason Roos on their 100th cap with the team, the defense fell apart in the first half and allowed five goals in 45 minutes. Three goals from both Patrick OCallaghan and Demetre Vernon, including one in the second half, put Williamsburg in a hole that it fought hard to climb out of.
Mark Gallagher's lone goal in the first half for the Doylies gave the team room to fight back, as he and knocked back two more goals in the second half while John Kaddo scored one of his own. At one point, the lead was cut down to two but a late penalty allowed the Finest FC to put the game away with its sixth goal. Gerrit van den Berg and Gallagher both assisted on a goal while Kaddo picked up two assists during the game.
NY Ukrainians v. Manhattan Kickers (3-2)
No goal scorer information provided by NY Ukrainians
Despite an early two goal lead, the Manhattan Kickers could not hold back a surge of offense by the NY Ukrainians and eventually fell, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon.
In the first 25 minutes, the Kickers dominated possession and moved the ball around the field with little difficulty. Goals from Gonzalo Trovato and player coach Bryan Baracaldo early on seemed like the start of a route, but before halftime the Ukrainians cut into the lead with a counter-attack response to cut into the deficit.
The Kickers struggled with endurance in the final 45, giving away balls and allowing a sloppy foul in the box resulting in a successful penalty to even the score up. Chances came for both sides after that, but the Kickers starting XI ran out of gas allowing NYU to find a long shot in the final 15 minutes. The Kicker keeper looked to get a hand on the ball, but it dribbled into the net off momentum to give the Ukrainians its first and final lead of the day.
We kept pushing forward and getting opportunities but it was not to be,” Baracaldo said afterwards. “The poor performance from guys coming off the bench cost us staying on top of the league. Now we drop to 5th, 6 points behind league leaders Manhattan Celtic, and are now holding onto final playoff spot with a long season ahead.”
Richmond County FC v. Stal Mielec NY
The game between Richmond County and Stal Mielec NY that took place last Sunday has been called off and will be replayed at a neutral site on a later date.
Richmond County held a 4-0 lead late into the second half but an incident between both benched caused play to be stopped and referees determined the game could not continue under these condiditions.
County remains undefeated with four wins on the year while Stal's struggles keep it in the lower half of the division 2 standings.
Real Olé FC v. DeSportiva Sociedad NY (3-2)
In one of the closest games of the weekend, a lower strength Real Olé FC squad squeaked past DeSportiva Sociedad NY, 3-2, at home. The holiday weekend was evident across the league as some teams ran low on reserves and ROFC was no different, using a couple of reserve players in its’ first team game, while the two hour trip north also cost DSNY players.
Two of those players played hero in the 75th minute, when Sam Dennehy, off a Doug McKim assist, curled a shot into the upper corner of the goal for what would be the game winner. Nick vonEgypt played a huge role in the offense as well, scoring the game tying penalty kick in the 44th after DSNY opened scoring off a counter-attack 15 minutes prior.
That goal for DSNY, scored by Jaytornah Wisseh, may have been one of the best examples of team play this week. A series of passes by Diego Cisneros and Miguel Andrade opened space in the Real back and allowed a pass to an open Nicolas Garcia. The cross into the goal area from there allowed Wisseh to put their team up by one.
In the second half, reserves player Quinn McLoughlin found vonEgypt on a long run and fed him the ball to finish the breakaway attempt in the 60th minute to take the lead.
A final response by DSNY's vice captaion Frank Vazquez in the 89th cut into the score but time ran out on the team looking for its first points of the season.
“Overall it was key to get away from that match with the 3 points,” vonEgypt said afterwards in an email. “Many of our reserve team players crucially stepped up to help get us the 3 points. We’ll gear up to travel down to Brooklyn on Sunday to take on Stal Mielec NY.”
Hoboken FC 1912 v. Central Park Rangers FC (2-0)
As the gap grows between upper and lower table teams, Hoboken FC 1912 stayed in the hunt for top contention with a 2-0 win over winless Central Park Rangers FC on Sunday. The third win for Hoboken broke the team into the double digits in terms of points, keeping it in fourth place on the table while CPR remains at the bottom on goal differential.
Missed clear cut chances by the 1912 squad kept the game score lower, which head coach Steve Korfiatis thinking the game could have been won much earlier. Geoff Rouin scored his second goal of the season with a header from inside the box on a Kevin Halliday assist. Sam Omoyusi followed that up with his first of the season, with the first team, with a nicely timed run and finish.
Despite the result, CPR did show improvements in the game keeping it close for a majority of the match. Players returning from injury aided game flow, but others missing the game due to the holiday meant reserve players needed to be called on once again not long after that team drew HFC Reserves, 1-1.
“What we had didn't put us over the top to at least scrape a point from this game, but it was at least a nice step in the right direction,” Rangers manager Mike Carducci said after the game.
Kelmendi FC NY v. Afghan FC NY (0-1)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
The final game of Week 5 saw Afghan FC NY down the winless Kelmendi FC NY, 1-0.
AFCNY’s second win of the year pushed it closer to the middle of the table and ties it with D2 heavyweights Polonia Gwardia NY and Williamsburg International FC on points. Kelmendi remains winless and pointless on the young season and sits one above the bottom Central Park Rangers on the sole merit that it has kept its games closer.