Central Park Rangers players in a huddle. Photo by Andrew Faherty
By Ralph 'Onz' Chery
Oct. 14, 2018
Bad news for you, there’s no CSL games this weekend. But it’s ok because the good news is that the Manning State Cup starts this weekend. Nine of the 10 CSL clubs in the top flight will be in action. Five of them will take on teams from the LISFL.
“Anytime you play against teams from other leagues you represent your club but also the CSL as a whole,” NY Athletic Club current top scorer of the season Rafik Mekhaldi said before his match versus Port Jefferson Fusion.
“Representing the CSL is something that we as a team are very proud of and definitely don’t take lightly. So it is an added motivation to do our best to get the win this upcoming weekend.”
Here’s a preview of all the CSL clubs’ matches against LISFL teams in the opening round of the Manning State Cup as well as the two all-CSL team games: Cedar Stars Academy versus Central Park Rangers and Doxa S.C. versus NY Pancyprian Freedoms.
Lansdowne will fight to crawl out of their substandard season versus Kosmos/Olympiacos
Against all odds, Lansdowne Yonkers F.C. started the season with three CSL losses hence no need to say that the reigning Manning Cup champions will come out in full gear against Kosmos/Olympiacos on Sunday home at Tibbetts Brook Field 3 at 4:00 p.m.
The Irish club’s manager William McGregory is hoping that the team will start restoring their season back to normal with a win versus Kosmos/Olympiacos.
“It’s nice to get a break from league action but Sunday will be another difficult tie, we are improving every week under Jim [Kelly] and Sean [Kelly] and will certainly look to get our first win and kick on from there.”
McGregory later added that the club learned something in every game they played this season during their transition period.
“We have a new coaching staff and some new players and every game we have played thus far has been a learning experience,” he said.
“I said many times the CSL is the best league in the country and there are no easy games, Sunday will be no different and the players now know we have to fight for every ball or you won’t get results at this level.”
Kosmos/Olypmiacos is in third spot in the LISFL Premier Division while the Bhoys are at the rock bottom of the CSL table with a 0-0-3 record.
NY Greeks test their strength against LISFL top team Port Jeff
NY Greek Americans couldn’t ask for a better LISFL team to take on as they will face the undefeated, first placed Port Jefferson on Sunday at Heritage Park at 11:00 a.m.
NY Greeks captain Shaun ‘Fozzy’ Foster acknowledged how strong of a team Port Jeff is.
“We’ve had people that have played for them in the past so we know they are a good team, and that it will be a good test for us. We have to respect them,” Fozzy said.
NY Greek Americans defensive midfielder Shaun 'Fozzy Foster. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
NYGA lost their last game to NY Pancyprian Freedoms 3-2 and sit in fourth place. Fozzy is eager to go back to the winning column with his teammates.
“We are certainly looking forward to putting a few things right and getting back to winning ways. It’s crucial that we have a good cup run,” the defensive midfielder said.
Doxa will take on league toppers Pancyprians in the Greek/Cypriot Derby
Doxa S.C. will also face a first placed team as they host CSL top seeded club NY Pancyprian Freedoms home at Lehman High School on Sunday at 8:00 p.m.
“Yea we know they're a quality side,” Doxa’s midfielder Joseph ‘Joey’ Sanchez said before facing the Freedoms.
“I think we have nothing to lose and we need to try our best to come away with a result. We have a couple of attacking threats ourselves which we hope can cause some damage this Sunday.”
Doxa’s striker Kareem Joachim is the league’s third top scorer with five goals. Meanwhile Adam Himeno leads the Pancyprians with four goals.
On the defensive end, the Freedoms only conceded four goals in six games in all competitions. However Joey is confident in his side’s attacking powers.
“That's a great record to have for goals against but each game is different,” the midfielder said about NY Pancyprians’ goals against ratio. “I think for us we are going to have to be very efficient and precise in our attacking play.”
CPR goes head to head for the second week in a row with Cedar Stars
Central Park Rangers Whites have a second straight date with powerhouse Cedar Stars Academy on Sunday home at Randall’s Island Field 75 at 8:00 p.m.
Cedar Stars downed CPR 6-2 last weekend in the CSL.
"We knew going into last week's game that their strengths were their forwards' ability to score goals,” Central Park’s midfielder James Greco said about the two club’s previous encounter.
“Unfortunately, we were missing a few defenders which made it more difficult for us. But what we can take away from the game going into this weekend is for stretches of last week's game we competed with them, had possession and created some opportunities to score. We will have to do a lot better defensively as a team.”
Central Park Rangers midfielder James Greco. Photo by Dinos Avlonitis
CSA’s 6-2 victory over the Rangers was their toughest win of the season statistically. The club leads the league in goals scored, tallying 24 and goals conceded, allowing 4 in as many matches.
Greco noted how crucial it is to be confident against the redoubtable Stars.
“It's very important to have confidence against a team like the Cedar Stars. They are a very talented team so they will expose any doubts or weaknesses in your team,” he said.
Shamrocks host NY Polet at Randall’s Island Field 75
Shamrocks welcome NY Polet at Randall’s Island Field 75 on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.
“We look forward to the challenge this weekend in what will be a tough game,” Rocks head coach Kevin Grogan said. “Long Island teams have great tradition and some excellent players."
Shamrocks head coach Kevin Grogan. Shamrocks Images
The Irish club won their last match, overpowering Hoboken F.C. 1912, 3-1. Grogan is keen on racking a second consecutive victory.
“Winning is a habit so we always try to win as many games as possible,” he said. “One game at a time has always been our mentality.”
NYAC travels to Raynor Beach to face Port Jeff Fusion
NY Athletic Club will clash with Port Jefferson Fusion on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at Raynor Beach Park.
Mekhaldi expressed how important it is to win on Sunday since it will be a win-or-go-home encounter.
“Every game is a must win but this one especially,” he said. “It's essential to stay concentrated for the full 90, the goal is to dominate possession while remaining organized on defense and creating chances offensively.
“It'll be vital to get off to a quick start and be as clinical as possible finishing in the final third.”
NYAC is in sixth place in the CSL with a 1-1-3 record while Port Jeff Fusion stands in the last sixth spot in the LISFL with 0-4-1 record.
Zum will square up will Glen Cove at Cedar Swamp
Eighth-placed CSL team Zum Schneider F.C. 03 will play the second to last-placed club in the LISFL Glen Cove on Sunday at 10 a.m. at Cedar Swamp Road.
Zum is going into the game after a notable 1-0 win over champions Lansdowne. The German club owns a 1-4-0 record compared to Glen’s 1-3-1 record.