Lansdowne Yonkers FC, lead by coach Sean Kelly, go over tactics for their match against Cedar Star Academy on Saturday, September 14 (Credit: Lansdowne Yonkers FC)
With hot starts and upsets in Week 1, the second week of Division 1 play brought on much closer action. In the four games that happened, two were ties and the two others ended with a score line of 3-2. In total, 17 goals were scored as both Sporting SC and the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms had off from league play to take part in a state tournament.
For the other eight teams, here’s how the games shook out:
Saturday, September 14
Lansdowne Yonkers FC v. Cedar Stars Academy (1-0)
In a rematch of the 2018 Division 1 final, Lansdowne Yonkers FC edged Cedar Star Academy, 1-0, only eight days before the two sides take part in the First Round of U.S. Open Cup Qualifying. The big moment came when the Bhoy’s Shaquille Saunchez recovered a rebound, swung around the keeper and scored in the 60th minute.
Both teams matches up fairly well in the early going, with chances on net coming for both while the backlines did their jobs. Lansdowne’s Dean Dillon and Daryl Kavanagh had great chances to take the early lead with Dillon hitting the crossbar midway through the first half.
In the second 45, Lansdowne began to move its pieces around more and stretched the Stars' defense thin which opened up more chances including the eventual winner from Saunchez.
As mentioned before, both teams will be in action on Sunday in U.S. Open Cup qualifying. Cedar Star will be taking on the Jackson Lions while Lansdowne will be heading to New Jersey to face Clifton Elite FC.
Sunday, September 15
New York Athletic Club v. New York Shamrock SC (3-2)
Last season’s Division 1 semifinalists continued their struggles as New York Shamrock SC fell to the New York Athletic Club, 3-2, in the latter’s first win of the young season.
After a hard loss in the first week Athletic Club played well at both ends of the field to earn the three points, something head coach Jimmy Lannon noted after the match.
“Great performance from our guys and we were very excited to get the first win of the year after a tough Week 1,” Lannon said in an email. He noted that the team getting results now is key, especially against established opponents, so that later in the season the squad will be able to control its own destiny and finish on the higher end of the table.
Two of his team’s goals came from Ale Sucre and Gabriel Wirz headers. Sucre was aided by a pass from Laurin Vogel while Wirz, whose goal was the game winner, initially hit his ball down into a chaotic scrum in the box that eventually found its way past the Rocks’ keeper. Jake Mann started the scoring off with a shot from the top of the box, assisted by Noah Kossof, that got past the outstretched keeper.
The Shamrocks pushed back and at times were able to put the game within reach. Just before halftime, Francesco Zanetti was set up by John McAleenan for a quick goal and similarly Darren Coleman found Jack Watson at the end of the second half but the team couldn’t make the most of its chances.
“We were unlucky not to get a point from the game," said head coach Patrick Geraghty. "We had a few decent chances and hit the crossbar. We gave away two goals that were avoidable and overall we didn’t play our game. We’ll try to fix it this week and go again (this) Sunday.”
Athletic Club remains on Travers Island this Sunday when it takes on Zum Schneider FC 03 while the Shamrocks will try to rebound when they are schedualed to face-off against Cedar Stars Academy the same day (though this game will most likely be rescheduled).
Doxa FC v. New York Greek Americans (3-3)
In front of over 100+ people at Joseph F. Fosina Field, the home field Doxa FC scored an extremely late stoppage time goal to earn a draw, 3-3, against the New York Greek Americans in what was a back and forth game. Kamile Pruszko’s opposite post shot in the 90+8th minute salvaged a point for his team and earned the squad the top spot in Division 1 after two games off goal differential.
Doxa head coach Paul Grafas said the game reminded him of older times in the CSL, with competition being fierce and the fans showing incredible support on Sunday night.
“I'm very proud of the determination all of our team giving it all to the last second of the game and I couldn't have asked for anything more from our boys," Grafas said.
Grafas’ group started the game off with a goal in the 5th minute when Federico Curbelo found Junior Rosero, who slide the ball into the net. The Greeks took the momentum off the restart and in the 7th minute evened the score when Stephanos Hondrakis headed in a high pass from outside the box.
Despite more chances from both teams the game entered halftime at a stalemate. Both squads were quick to attempt counter-attacks on the other one but failed to make it count in the critical moments. The visiting Greeks were passing long along the sides hoping to get around the Doxa defense but to no luck.
The goals resumed in the second half in a similar way to before. Hondrakis continued his early season scoring spree by notching his second of the night to put the visitors up in the 59th minute off a rebound, only to have Rosero score for Doxa a minute later when Rasmus Hansen pushed the ball up and found him not long after play resumed. Entering the later stage of the half, the Greeks’ captain Shaun Foster received the ball in Doxa’s box with a chance on net, but instead played it off to John Sabal who punched in the out of place keeper to give his team its second lead of the night.
Time winding down saw NYGA nearly seal the game with goal scoring opportunities as Doxa recovered the ball to try and level late. After they did off Pruszko’s goal, Robert Cabrera nearly won it for them when his shot off a counter attack hit off the post just before the final whistle blew.
Doxa will be home for it’s third straight game this Sunday as it takes on KidSuper Samba AC while the Greeks host Sporting SC on the same day at the Metropolitan Oval.
Zum Schneider FC 03 v. KidSuper Samba AC (2-3)
KidSuper Samba AC picked up it’s first win in the top division and earned points for the second straight week when it knocked off Zum Schneider FC 03, 3-2, on Sunday night. The humid night time affair was the same type of game that Samba perfected in the second division, high offense early on that catches opponents off.
Many of Zum's players showed up to the field late, leaving little time to prepare for the challenge that faced them. Samba’s Abdoulaye Diallo scored early, assisted by Vieux Mane, off a through ball up the middle. Zum responded when Tomas Gomes assisted Lukas Hauer who buried it from close range, beating the keeper from just outside the five-yard box, but a penalty by Tommy Ricketts allowed Mane to step up and bury the shot from the spot. The fourth goal in the half came when Mamud Keita’s freekick deflected off of multiple players unintentionally and was carried into the back of the net.
“On a humid, low energy night for zum Schneider, nothing would work,” Zum coach Alexander Berscheid said in an email. “Everybody seemed off their game and the team was stunned with three quick goals within the first 20 minutes, one of which was a ‘soft’ penalty on the line of the box.”
ZSFC’s offense had a resurgence in the second half, showing the same kind of energy that got it the early goal and the win last week. Jeremy Witherspoon connected with the ball from a Hauer during his run inside the box to put his team within one. Chances and a red card against KidSuper when their keeper picked up the ball outside the box encouraged more attacking motions. But key saves by the replacement keeper and a few shots off the crossbar kept the victory for the new team.
Berscheid commended the work KidSuper did on the field and knows the competition is fierce in Division 1 this season, but he also knows his team can do better.
“All in all I think a tie would have been fair but we congratulate the Kidsuper on their first three points in the top flight,” Berscheid said. “They have some fine footballers on board and played a good first half. It turned out to be enough against a Schneider side that definitely needs improvement for next week’s fixture with NYAC!”
Zum Schneider will play the New York Athletic Club this Sunday on the road while Week 3 has KidSuper take on Doxa FC.