First division Week 2 preview

By Ralph Chery

A game picture of Cedar Stars Academy and NY Pancyprian Freedoms' encounter at Randall's Island last season. Picture by Devaughn Clasp

 

Sept. 15th, 2017  

 

The second week of the CSL's first division comes with only three fixtures as three teams will be away competing in the Rapaglia Cup on Sunday: Lansdowne Bhoys, NY Greek Americans and Central Park Rangers Whites. 

 

 

NY Pancyprian Freedoms (6th) vs Cedar Stars Academy (4th) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at St. John's University Belson Stadium

 

A game picture of Cedar Stars Academy and NY Pancyprian Freedoms' encounter at Randall's Island last season. Picture by Devaughn Clasp

 

The most anticipated story of the upcoming round is NY Pancyprian Freedoms midfielder Andreas Chronis going against his former club Cedar Stars Academy.

Chronis returned to the Freedoms during the offseason after a two-year spell with Cedar Stars, in which he captained them last season.

“Going against Cedar Stars this weekend is definitely going to be tough considering I had a great experience there and still have a great relationship with [head coach] Oliver [Papraniku],” the winger said.

“We parted on good terms and my move to Pancyprian was not because of my dissatisfaction with Cedar Stars but rather to join the Pancyprians in the push to field and promote the Greek youth. This is something that I feel strongly about as well.”

Chronis netted a goal in NY Pancyprian’s 3-3 draw with Zum Schneider FC last Sunday. The Queens native is eager to win his first game back with the Freedoms against CSA and score against them on Saturday.

“I’m very competitive so of course I'd like to get the first win of the season,” Chronis said. “Playing in an attacking role will definitely allow me to create opportunities to score, and I plan to. Win or lose though it's going to be a great game and I look forward to seeing Oliver and some of my old teammates.”

Cedar Stars on the other end tied their first outing of the season 3-3 with NY Greek Americans last Sunday.

The Stars defeated NY Pancyprian three times in their last four league-games.

 

 

NY Shamrock SC (9th) vs Zum Schneider FC 03 (7th) on Saturday at 8:00 p.m. at St. Michael’s Playground

 

As Chronis wrestles with his old teammates at St. John’s University, Shamrocks and Zum Schneider F.C will be battling each other for their first win of the young season at St. Michael’s Playground.  

The Rocks lost their season opener 4-2 to NY Athletic Club last Sunday. New signing from Dubai Irish F.C, James Whyte, scored the Queens-based club’s two goals. Whyte is keen to get his first win with Shamrocks against Zum Schneider.

“I hope we can put in a good performance and come out with a positive result this weekend,” the Scottish said. “The team is working hard and taking it one game at a time.”

 

James Whyte scored twice on his debut for the Shamrocks after joining the club from Dubai Irish. Photo by Danny Ospina

 

Whyte also expressed that he was pleased to kick the season off with Shamrocks last weekend.

“I felt really good finally getting the season started,” the forward said. “It's been a long summer and I haven't played competitive football since my season finished in April [with Dubai Irish F.C] so I was desperate to get back to playing competitive games.”

And about his brace against NYAC, Whyte said: “I'm always pleased to get on the scoresheet but the result is always the most important thing for me. I would much rather have came away with a win for the team than any personal accolades.”

Zum Schneider’s center back Willya Mekolo also bagged a brace in his CSL debut last Sunday as his side drew with NY Pancyprians 3-3.

Mekolo’s goals were two rocket shots from the top of the six-yard box. The defender finished second behind Ovan Oakley in the Player of the Week voting.

Shamrocks won both outings against Zum last year with a 1-0 scoreline.

 

 

Manhattan Kickers (8th) vs NY Athletic Club (2nd) on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. at East River Park Field 2 Grand Street

 

NY Athletic Club will look to become the first team to go to two wins this season when they face Manhattan Kickers on Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

“It won't be an easy game,” Manhattan defender Lucas Shanks said about facing the seven-time CSL champions. “But playing a quick, organized team like NYAC is always enjoyable.”

The Kickers drew with Doxa 3-3 in their first game back in D1 last weekend after being up 3-0 at halftime.

“Doxa F.C. is a familiar opponent, but the first game of every season never goes as planned,” Shanks said. “We certainly didn't expect to go up 3-0 before halftime and I don't think they expected to be able to salvage a tie in the end. We were both probably relieved to not come away with zero points and glad to have the first game out of the way.”

Manhattan’s coach Bryan Baracaldo noted that his side lost the 3-0 halftime lead because of  “lack of fitness.”

The Kickers’ scorers were Torek Robinson, Mohamadou Diaby and Brian Morris.

Shanks mentioned that as a promoted team the club was looking for their identity during the offseason and that the upcoming fixture against NYAC will manifest their level of play. 

“We've spent the later part of the summer finding our identity,” he said, “and developing a style of play with the additions we've made to our roster, knowing that we'd have to play at a faster pace and make less mistakes to compete in the first division.

“Matching up against NYAC is certainly a tall task, but we'll learn quickly what our team is capable of.”

Kevin Strunk starred for NY Athletic last week against Shamrocks, scoring a free-kick and assisting a goal in a 4-2 win.

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