Week 18: The Playoff Field is Set as NY Athletic Club Ends Season Strong

By Michael Battista

Week 18: The Playoff Field is Set as NY Athletic Club Ends Season Strong

After 18 weeks of competition and 178 games the Cosmopolitan Soccer League Division 1 playoffs are finally set.

The seedings are:
1: NY Pancyprian Freedoms - 47 points
2: Cedar Stars Academy - 38 points
3: NY Greek Americans - 30 points
4: NY Shamrock SC - 27 points (can reach 28 or 30 as well)

There was a total of four games over Sunday, May 19 with one more to be played on Wednesday. Let's take a look at the final regular season contests:


Sunday, May 19
NY Athletic Club v. Doxa FC (7-2)
No goal scorer information given by Doxa FC
NY Athletic Club closed out the 2018-19 season with its biggest win of the year, 7-2, over Doxa FC. The team also finishes on a two game win streak, winning three of its final four and not losing any of those games, with head coach Jimmy Lannon noting the team “ran out of games at the wrong time.” 

Athletic Club dominated the first half, scoring five goals with four different players coming up big in the score sheet. Peter Ceesay started it off by intercepting a back pass towards the keeper and slotting the breakaway before assisting Dorian Wirz on the team's second goal not long after.

With the game firmly in his team’s hands Alejandro Sucre scored what Lannon described as a “goal of the year” contender as Anthony Baumann crossed a long ball into the box where Sucre scissor kicked his third goal of the season. Gab Wirz and Sucre rounded out the scoring off assists from Lannon and a Rafik Mekaldhi corner.

“It was a full team effort with our commitment and effort from the start making all the difference,” Lannon said in a postgame email. “Doxa fought hard as they have all season and showed great character coming out of a difficult half pressing early and stealing a goal right out of the break.”

The Doxa response in the second half was nullified when another Mekaldhi corner found the back of the net thanks to Alan Reiter. Following a second Doxa goal Mekaldhi himself stepped up when Ceesay sent him the ball late and allowed him to score his team’s seventh.

“I couldn’t be more proud of my team and couldn’t be more excited to continue our momentum into next seasons with larger goals in mind,” Lannon said.


Central Park Rangers Whites v. Hoboken FC 1912 (4-2)
The bottom two teams played their final Division 1 games on Sunday afternoon, and Central Park Rangers Whites was able to come away with its first win of the season, 4-2, over Hoboken FC 1912.

Hoboken looked to be the better team for two-thirds of the match, taking the lead early and bouncing back after a CPR equalizer in the second period. Jeremy Witherspoon and Timor Tcherniavski both scored for their team but errors built up as time went on and allowed the home side to stay in it and come back for the win.

“The players put in the right amount of effort and desire to get a result, but as has been the case many times this season, we did not have the depth to see it through,” Hoboken head coach Steve Korfiatis said in a postgame email. “The first division requires 90+ minutes of focus, and it was a good lesson for the players in the end.”

For CPR White, the win marks the end of a long 17 game winless streak this season as the win came after a full team effort, including goals from four different players. James Greco got his team on the board and level with the visitors midway through the first half that the Hoboken keeper couldn’t control. After that and midway through the second the team equalized once again when Akeem Brooks finished a cross from Raphael Carvalho.

The game firmly fell into the Rangers’ hands as Faissal Sanfo and Bibi Dia, off an assist from the former pass, both scored within minutes of the equalizer and had more chances on net before the final whistle.

Despite both teams finishing at the bottom of D1, Korfiatis did note Hoboken’s reserve team, that won their game beforehand, played one of its best seasons in recent history.

“On a positive note, our reserve team finished off the season with 4 consecutive wins putting us in 5th place with one of the best reserve records in the 1st division in Hoboken FC's modern era,” he said.


NY Pancyprian Freedoms v. Lansdowne Yonkers FC (2-2)
Fighting for a potential playoff spot, Lansdowne Yonkers FC fought hard against the NY Pancyprian Freedoms but could only muster a draw, 2-2. With NY Greek Americans winning its game and NY Shamrock SC being level with Lansdowne on points at 27, the Bhoys are officially eliminated from the playoff picture since even with a loss this Wednesday the Rocks would be ahead via the head-to-head tiebreaker.

“Overall the standings say it all, however we know it doesn’t end here, there are two more games we must take care of if we want to be crowned champions,” Freedoms technical director Panayiotis Onisiforou said in a postgame email. “It’s not going to be easy but we are up to the task and we are more than capable.”

Yonkers started the game fast and hard pressing, almost as if the team wanted to make up for the huge loss against the Shamrocks two weeks ago. Within the first ten minutes it paid off as Dawda Bah scored the opener from ten yards out to give his team the lead. Michael Holzer and Daryl Kavanagh both had attempts of their own but couldn’t get into the net.

The last twenty minutes of the first half saw the momentum swing into the Freedoms end. Lukas Ostermann scored twice for his team, one solo and one assisted by Luis Estevez, to give them the lead and increased his goal total to eight on the year.

After the brief intermission and a few adjustments, Lansdowne were once again pressing early and scored within the first ten minutes. Holzer connected to the bottom left off a Kavanagh pass to level the score at two each.

Despite attacks from both sides neither could find the winning goal as time expired. Lansdowne will be unable to defend its 2018 league title as it official finishes in fifth while the Freedoms look to face the Rocks in the D1 semifinals. The Bhoys season is far from over with a state cup final on June 9th and the USASA Region I Werner Fricker national cup final on June 16th where the team will look to qualify to the national finals.


NY Greek Americans v. Zum Schneider FC 03 (4-1)
The NY Greek Americans re-clinched a playoff spot with a win, 4-1, over Zum Schneider FC 03. Following being deducted three points last week for forfeitings its' reserve game, the team was in jeopardy of being overtaken by both NY Shamrock SC and Lansdowne Yonkers heading into Week 18.

Tyler Botte played the big early role for the Greeks when he opened scoring 14 minutes in, off an assist from Jason Ramirez, before assisting not long after when team captain Sean Foster put his team up by two. Foster scored his second of the day not long after with a shot to the left corner of the net.

Zum responded in earnest pressing up high and getting a dozen chances in the first 45, which finally set up Ivan Berterame off a week Greek back pass to steal the ball and cut into the NYGA lead. Second half saw the team continue this momentum especially after a Greek player was sent off for leaving his feet. The team struck the crossbar and posts but couldn’t get the ball in the net.

Patt McCann closed out the game late for the Greeks when he converted a late PK for his teams fourth goal. Greeks will now face Cedar Star Academy is the Division 1 semi-finals in the near future.


Wednesday, May 22
NY Shamrock SC v. Cedar Stars Academy (1-5)
Fresh off a loss in the USASA Region 1 Amaeur Cup Final, Chris Katona helped bounce Cedar Star Academy back into its' winning ways as he scored four goals against fellow playoff-bound side NY Shamrock SC in his team’s win, 5-1.

With both team’s seed locked in place for the postseason, the atmosphere prior to kickoff was light with both sides smiling and enjoying the perfect spring weather conditions. That may have been a factor in Jean Voltaire’s error early on when his pass back towards the goalkeeper tickled into the net to give the Rocks the lead. Katona and Carlton McKenzie helped to put up some chances in the first 45 but the squad went into halftime with a deficit. 

Star’s head coach Austin Friel spoke with his team during the break and went into the second half with a straight 3-4-3 formation to see if he can encourage some goals. Not only did he accomplish his goal but what followed between the 55th and 70th minute may have set a CSL record for most goals by a single player in that short a timeframe. 

Katona evened the score when the goalkeeper inadvertently took him down while trying to retrieve a rebound and was awarded a penalty kick before getting the lead off a Devonte Teixeria cross and one-timing it passed the keeper.

He wasn’t done since after that McKenzie found Katona in the box once again, who was then fouled once again and converted a penalty kick once again. Three minutes after this Katona wrapped up his evening by going on a 40-yard breakaway following a through-ball by Joao Brum and poking it past the keeper for his fourth goal in 13 minutes. Volaire avenged his earlier error by assisting on his team’s final goal from newcomer Marin Aliko

Cedar Star heads into the postseason and a game against NY Greek Americans in the first round while the Rocks will be looking to rebound against the league leading NY Pancyprian Freedoms.

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