Week 14 Recap: NY Pancyprian Freedoms Tighten Grip on Division Lead

By Michael Battista

Week 14 Recap: NY Pancyprian Freedoms Tighten Grip on Division Lead

Week 14 falls between two league breaks, with some teams coming off of state tournament games and everyone having this weekend (April 20-21) off for Easter. With only five games left in the Cosmoplitan Soccer League regular season multiple teams are vying for playoff spots while others are looking to avoid the relegation zone. 

With one game yet to be played as of Monday, April 16, here's the recap for weekend in Division 1:

Saturday, April 13

NY Shamrock SC v. Hoboken FC 1912 (5-2)
A second half comeback including four unanswered goals lifted NY Shamrock SC over Hoboken FC 1912, 5-2, on Randalls Island.

“We played well in the second half and we looked very dangerous in attack,” said Rocks’ head coach Kevin Grogan in his post game report. 

In the early stages, Shamrock SC seemed as though it lost momentum within the first 45 minutes. Travis Blair scored early for his team courtesy of a Tenzin Yougyal through pass over the top but the visiting New Jersey side pushed back. Hoboken’s leading scorer Thomas Hogue earned his sixth goal on the season while Kevin Halliday knocked back his fourth to give their team the lead heading into half.

Kwesi Mills-Odoi played a major role for the Rocks following the short intermission. He started by drawing the penalty early into the second half that gave his team a penalty kick attempt that Dan Giorgi converted to level the score before heading in a high pass from Kurt Cameron to take the lead.

It fell apart for Hoboken from there. Another foul on Mill-Odoi outside the box produced a straight red card to the 1912 keeper. The ensuing free kick made its way to Cameron who cross chipped past the 10 man squad and into the net for the Rocks’ fourth goal.

“It was great to have Kurt back playing after being sidelined through injury. His cross for the fourth goal was excellent.”

Blair finished the scoring with his second goal of the night, unassisted, before the full time whistle closed out the game.

Hoboken remains at eight points this season with a record of 2-2-10 and currently sits in ninth place, the second spot that a team is relegated from at the end of the year. However, only three points currently seperates the oldest CSL squad in play from saftey after NY Athletic Club also dropped its' Week 14 game.

 

Sunday, April 14

NY Athletic Club v. NY Greek Americans (1-2)
No goal scorer information given by NY Greek Americans
Two first half goals were enough to hold back NY Athletic Club as the NY Greek Americans got the win, 2-1, and remain in third place for another week.

The Greeks and came out strong in the well paced outing. A well worked set piece and great passing game allowed the team to score on two separate occasions. After making it to the halftime whistle with no more damage being done, Athletic Club head coach Jimmy Lannon swapped out his team’s form and formulated a counterattack strategy.

The game shifted momentum after that with NYAC getting more chances on the Greeks’ backline. The pressure eventually lead to a corner kick midway through the last 45 where Ale Sucre scored off an assist from Jake Mann.

Despite more chances coming for both sides in the remaining time, Athletic Club could not convert the equalizer while the Greeks had trouble scoring the game sealer but survived long enough to walk away with three points. 

Following the game in an email Lannon said the outcome was a “disappointing result for sure” while also praising his group’s second half play. His team remains at 11 points on the year and third from the bottom of the D1 table - within striking distance of Hoboken FC 1912 to fall into the relegation zone. 

Doxa FC v. Zum Schneider FC 03 (1-1)
Both Doxa FC and Zum Schneider FC 03 entered Week 14 level on points and following their draw, 1-1, the sides remain even with 17. 

On the final play of the game, Zum was awarded a free kick on the half way line. With players running forward from both teams, Julian Poppenseiker flicked it towards the net and late game sub Matel Anasta scored his first goal of the season as his team’s equalizer. 

With neither team securing the additional two points the outlook for potential playoff berths diminish. The fourth placed team in Division 1 currently sits at 24 or 25 points (dependent on how Lansdowne Yonkers performs on Tuesday) meaning it will take at least three games to catch up with only four remaining. 

Following a tight first half with chances from both sides, including a Doxa header attempt that slammed off the goal post midway through, Doxa’s Kareem Joachim saw Rasmus Hansen open and ready for a run. After a long feed, the latter beat the keeper one on one in the 60th minute for both his second goal of the season and the spring.

NY Pancyprian Freedoms v. Cedar Stars Academy (3-0)
In Sunday’s night game at St John's Belson Stadium, the NY Pancyprian Freedoms pushed back the closest team challenging for the CDL D1 top spot when they defeated Cedar Star Academy, 3-0.

With the win the Freedoms move to 37 points while Cedar Star, the closest team in the standings, remains at 31. With only four league games left only CSA and NY Greek Americans can catch NYPF, though with only 26 points the Greeks would need both teams ahead of them to lose out.

Pancyprian controlled most of the play and possession early on the foggy field. A save by Star’s keeper Bryan Lopez kept his team even with the surging home side, but a Pancyprian player caught an CSA defender off guard and chipped in the winning goal. Cedar Star picked up play for the remainder of the first half and a majority of the second, but failed to convert any chances. The counter-attack pressure by the D1 leaders became to much and two more goals in the second half sealed the three points for the Freedoms.

Adam Himeno scored his ninth goal during the game, assisted by Jimmy Nealis, making him the highest scoring Freedoms player this season and tied for third most this season in the CSL. Andreas Iosifidi and Lukas Ostermann scored their sixth and third goals respectively this seasons as well.

In a post-game email, team technical director Panayiotis Onisiforou said everyone played their part during the 90 minutes leading to the positive result.

“It was a solid performance from the team, everyone did what they had to do,” Onisiforou said. “It’s hard to pick out an MVP, (Hector Guerrero) made 2-3 great saves, our defense kept the potent Cedar Stars attack quiet, limiting their shots to long distance and a few crosses, our midfield controlled most of the game… Must note Jimmy Nealis was instrumental, he was everywhere… All round a tremendous performance.”

 

Tuesday, April 16

Lansdowne Yonkers FC v. Central Park Rangers Whites (5-0)
Last October when Lansdowne Yonkers FC beat Central Park Rangers Whites it ended a unprecidented losisng streak for the defending league champions. When the two teams met again this week Yonkers once again came away with the win, 5-0, as the team sits just outside the top four of CSL Division 1.

Stephen Elias started the scoring off in the 28th minute making this his fourth straight league game with a goal. Three minutes later, Ovan Oakley was able to connect with another score and did it again in the 40th minute. The performance increases Oakley to six goals this season, with all coming in the spring season, bringing him into the top 10 of D1 goalscorers.

With the game in its control Yonkers began to play more defensivly. CPR had some chances as the game went on but sloppy passes or solid Lansdowne defending kept them from coverting. 

Two more goals from Karim Russell and sub Craig Purcell in the last ten minutes saw the game out to the final whistle.

The win brings the Bhoys to 24 points, tying them with fourth place NY Shamrocks SC but losing the tiebreaker on both goal-differential and head-to-head record. CPR remains winless this season with five points and four games left to try and save itself from relegation. 

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In non-CSL action, Lansdowne Yonkers FC advanced the the semifinals of the Werner Fricker Cup over 2018 National Premier Soccer League finalist FC Motown in a thrilling comeback, 2-2 (3:1 PK) on Sunday afternoon.

Keeper Abdoukarim “Kabo” Danso stepped up for his team in the closing moments, saving three out of four penalty shots while Karim Russell, Johan  Mauritzon and late game sub Ciaran McGuigan all scored in sudden-death.

After conceding twice to Motown in the first half, including one to Cedar Star Academy prospect Matt Nigro who started scoring with a 20 yard missle to the lower left corner past Danso.

Needing to shake things up, head coach Jim Kelly decided to change formation and bring on McGuigan and Dawda Bah. The new plan called on the team to take advantage of Motown’s heavy offense with quick counterattacks, and it paid off as Craig Purcell was taken down in the Celtic box allowing Stephen Elias to cut the lead in half with his successful penalty attempt. Elias would step up again not long after when David Gutierrez hit a cross to him that set up the equalizing goal.

Both teams had chances, especially Motown who went up a man after Bah was shown a straight red card around the 60th minute, but neither team could find the winner in either regulation or extra time. 

Lansdowne will continue to represent the Eastern New York State Soccer Association (ENYSSA) on May 5 when it faces Brockton FC United (Mass Soccer).

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