Richmond County FC stretches before its game against Williamsburg International FC (Credit: Richmond County FC)
High scores were the talking point of Week 4 in Division 2. Four games had a scoreline where the winning team scored four or more goals, five games were cleansheets, and none ended with a one-goal difference. For the winners this week, many are hoping to take the momentum into state tournament play this weekend. Those that came up short meanwhile may be looking to change their fortunes in the upcoming knockout tournaments.
Before we get to those though, here's the recap of D2's Week 4:
Saturday, September 28
FC Japan v. Hoboken FC 1912 (2-4)
Despite holding Hoboken FC 1912 to a scoreless first half, the offense picked up in the second half and FC Japan couldn’t come back, losing 4-2 and remaining winless on the season.
Kevin Halliday scored twice for Hoboken and James Reed tacked on one more as the second half wore on. The second by Halliday was, according to HFC Coach Jordan Love (who stepped in to replace an occupied Steve Korfiatis), a “goal of the year contender” as the half volley from distance crested into the top goal corner from a tight angle.
The team was able to hold Japan back until Kelvin Brito was shown a red card midway through, leaving the visitors with 10 men right as the home side began to find itself. Mitsuhiko Konoue and Naoki Sekikawa both scored for FC Japan, putting the team down by one goal heading into the final 10 minutes.
Hoboken keeper Jon-Paul Francini made enough saves to hold the lead late and finally, with five minutes to go, Halliday finished his hat-trick with a game sealing goal.
Sunday, September 29
Afghan FC NY v. Polonia Gwardia NY (1-3)
No goal scorer information provided by either team
The first game of Week 4 was a much needed win for one of Division 2’s best clubs from last season. Polonia Gwardia NY beat Afghan FC NY, 3-1, to break a three game tying streak and picked up its first three points of 2019-20.
The win allows Polonia, which has scored one goal in each of its last three games, the chance to jump up in the early standings. A win like this matters down the line when teams begin chasing the top spot and while three points through three games was better than nothing, the extra two points this win provides may be the critical vactor come mid 2020.
For Afghan, coming against a tough opponent in a young season this outcome allows them to learn and study one of the best defenses in the second tier. Through four games the team has been competitive and this feels like another stepping stone towards its first D2 win.
FC Ulqini v. Central Park Rangers FC (5-0)
High offense lead FC Ulqini to its second win in as many weeks over Central Park Rangers FC, 5-0.
CPR’s issues to to injury were compounded due to the religious holiday happening over the weekend, leaving little room for the team to fight back. Ulqini’s goal scorers were Gledis Nuza, Erbet Hoti, Bledar Kovaci, Ariton Rexha, and Albert Ruci.
Beyond FC v. NYPD FC (2-0)
Beyond FC won its second game in a row this season and earned points for the fourth straight week by beating NYPD FC, 2-0, in New Jersey.
Abrahim Hamami and Riccardo Cervi both scored for streaking club who now sit in fifth place on the table after playing the most games possible up until this point. Deepak Mangwani assisted on both of his teams goals. For New York Finest, the loss is its third straight meaning it will end September without picking up a single point, being outscored by a total of 9-1.
DeSportiva Sociedad NY v. NY Ukrainians (0-3)
A strong second half guided the NY Ukrainians to a 3-0 win over DeSportiva Sociedad NY on Sunday. The Ukrainians pick up their first win of the season and jump up on the table while DSNY continues its early struggles.
NYU was able to take full control of good chances in the second half. Klyde Jacques, Lukasz Prawdzik, and Nicolai Walters all scored in the final 45 while Mikel Gjoni picked up an assist. DSNY allowed two sloppy giveaways which lead to Ukrainan goals and multiple injuries plagued the team throughout the game including its top striker.
An early chance by DeSportiva’s Vladimir Sekiguchi in the first half nearly resulted in a one-on-one with the keeper but a take-down from behind only brandished a yellow for the opposing player. The encounter forced the striker to leave the game in an apparent knee injury.
The team had moments of momentum but failed to capitalize where it mattered, leading to its fourth straight loss.
Richmond County FC v. Williamsburg International FC (6-2)
Richmond County FC made a statement against one of Division 2’s top teams, beating Williamsburg International FC, 6-2, staying undefeated, and earning its biggest win of the season so far.
Head coach of Richmond Kemal Brkanovic said in an email afterwards that this is the kind of win shows just how much of a threat the team can be and that they belong at this level.
“I thought this was our best performance in Division Two so far as we had the right focus and intensity from start to finish,” Brkanovic said. “Williamsburg have been in this Division for a few years now and for us to perform that well against them shows that we should be taken seriously by all teams. We look to continue this league form into October.”
Striker Danny Tsygankov scored four of his team’s six goals, the first two of which came within the first five minutes of the game with Luis Kaba assisting on the second one. Down early, Williamsburg’s John Kaddo responded only two minutes later with a deceptively strong free kick that sailed from the top of the corner and into the net. The remaining 35 plus minutes of first half saw chances from both sides as momentum swayed back and forth.
While the second continued this back-and-forth, soon County took full control. In the span of 20 minutes Tsygankov scored two more goals, assisted by Peter Zima and Jonard Kadriu respectibly, before assisting on his team’s fifth goal by John Gurel.
Kaddo was able to score one more goal for Williamsburg, assisted by Connor Miller’s long pass through the Richmond back-line, but the team faltered late when Richmond’s Kaba passed a ball in the Williamsburg box that was sent in by an opposing player for an own-goal.
Manhattan Celtic v. Kelmendi FC NY (6-0)
Manhattan Celtic’s win over Kelmendi FC NY, 6-0, on Saturday leaves it and Richmond County FC (which has had a bye week already and only played three games) as the sole undefeated teams in CSL Division 2. Celtic have claimed all 12 points over four games this season, while Kelmendi has yet to pick up a win but has two points via draws.
Despite the win, early disorganization and sloppy giveaways by his team disappointed head coach Matthew Kane.
“We were disorganized in transition and gave Kelmendi two chances in the first 20 minutes,” Kane said in an email. “After this we settled and dominated the rest of the game.”
By halftime, Celtic were leading FCNY by three goals, and three more in the second half put the game away. Marco Charnas knocked in three for the hat-trick, Jon Leon scored one, and the debuting Niko Calder scored and assisted on another goal. Daniel Ardvisson played the biggest role of the day, assisting on four separate Celtic goals and scoring one of his own later on.
Real Olé FC v. Manhattan Kickers (0-4)
The Manhattan Kickers handed Real Olé FC its first loss of the season, 4-0, in Week 4’s final game on Sunday night. The set-back for Ole only sees them drop to third in the table, while the win puts Kickers in second heading into the league break.
Real assist coach and player Patrick Alvarez explained afterwards that his team took the Kickers too lightly, with his squad coming in lightly staffed due to conflicts.
“Not having key players due to conflicts in our coaching schedules this weekend really hurt our starting squad,” Alvarez said. “Overall we took them lightly this game which is unfortunate considering we only play each team once. Either way it was a great eye opening to not sleep on any teams going forward.”
According to head coach Bryan Baracaldo, defense was the name of the game. His team wore down Real throughout the game, with a backline of Khriswayne Wallace and newcomer Jake Moore controlling the tempo and not letting it get threatening shots. This marks the third straight game his team hasn’t allowed a goal against.
Goals came from Diego Reinero, Gonzalo Trovato, Francois-Xavier “FX” Thiolliere, and Baracaldo himself.
“The team is coming together nicely and hope to take this momentum into the first round of state cup,” Baracaldo said afterwards in an email.