A gameshot of NY Pancyprian Freedoms' game against Shamrock SC on March 20th, 2017. Picture by Dinos Avlonitis
May 30th, 217
Shamrock SC hosts NY Pancyprian Freedoms in the first division's semifinals Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at St. Michael’s Playground.
The Rocks finished in sixth place last year in their first season back in the elite division after ten 10 years with a 6-3-7 record. The Irish-based team improved to a 13-1-4 record and jumped to second place this season, which led them to the playoffs.
“We are excited to be in the playoffs,” head coach Kevin Grogan said. “As a club we have very much earned the right to be where we are. We will continue with our philosophy of one game at a time.
"We are a hard-working team and we will play with a smile on our face. I have experienced coaching in the playoffs before so I absolutely understand the magnitude of the game.”
NY Pancyprian made the playoffs by finishing in third place with a 11-2-5 record. They overcame a poor Fall season, in which they lost four of their 10 league games in the Fall by only losing one of their eight outings in the Spring.
Pancyprian striker Chris Megaloudis noted that their resiliency in the Spring enhances the team’s confidence going into the game against the Rocks.
“Shamrocks are a very strong side and we must respect that, but going into this game we have loads of confidence turning around a good fall to an even better spring,” Megaloudis said. “So we must play hard, and play to win.”
NY Pancyprian Freedoms forward Chris Megaloudis.
Shamrock defeated the Freedoms in their two encounters during the regular season, 5-2 at home and 2-1 on NY Pancyprian’s turf.
“Beating the Pancyprians in the regular season is absolutely irrelevant at this point,” coach Grogan said. “This will be a totally different game. Again we will prepare like all our other games. Nothing changes for us. It’s the next game.”
Unlike Pancyprian who made the playoffs for the last three seasons, Grogan’s men will be playing their first playoff game together. However the Irish coach is assured that if his players carry the work-rate they had in the regular season they will overpower the veterans.
“We have been through blood, sweat and tears to get here so the most important thing is that we maintain our work ethic and we enjoy the occasion,” Grogan said. “If we do both of those things we have a real chance.”
Shamrock SC: Andy O’Connell (attacking midfielder)
O'Connell joined Shamrock from Scottish Championship side Ayr United during the winter and netted five goals in five matches for them.
Shamrock midfielder Andy O'Connell. Shamrock SC Images
NY Pancyprian Freedoms: Chris Megaloudis (forward)
The former Puerto Rican international and New York Red Bulls player netted 10 goals for the Freedoms this season.