Both Williamsburg International FC and Beyond FC have a lot riding on the outcome of their game this Sunday at Laurel Hill Park. For one the chance to inch closer to a potential playoff spot hangs in the balance while the other is still trying to get a foot on the peddle in the spring season.
Williamsburg currently sits in third place in Division 2 South with 21 points after 11 games. The two teams currently ahead of the Doylies, Polonia Gwardia NY (28 pts) and Stal Mielec NY (25 pts), have both played 12 games meaning that any ground that WIFC makes up could be invaluable in the pursuit of a potential playoff spot. What’s more, following next week’s league break for Easter holiday weekend, SMNY and WIFC will face off against oneanother in CSL play on Sunday, April 28.
With only a handful of games left in the regular season that game could determine who finishes with a playoff berth and a chance to gain promotion to Division 1, something Williamsburg hasn’t yet achieved in their team’s history.
The team’s offense has been on of the best in Division 2 this season, leading the south region with forty goals and being the third most productive in the entire second tier behind KidSuper Samba AC (57 goals) and Real Ole FC (43 goals). Two Doylies in particular, John Kaddo and Mark Gallagher, have been on a tear this year. Both have scored 12 goals this season, three each in the spring, which ties them for the most by any player in D2 South. In addition, Kadda and Gallagher have both assisted on five separate goals for their team, tying them for second most in the south behind their teammate Oliver Harrison with seven.
While Beyond’s chances for any playoff spot are slim the team is still looking to bloom in the spring season. In 2019 the team has yet to come away with a win in either of its league games, first falling to a ten-man Manhattan Kickers squad, 4-1, in the season restart before drawing FC Ulqini, 1-1, in a game that could have helped make up ground in table standings. Abrahim Hamami’s goal in the draw brought his season total to four, tying him with teammate Mike Lowell for the most goals by a member of his team.
With 12 points through 11 games this season, Beyond does have the small advantage of a game in hand against FC Japan and NY Ukrainians - both of which sit under the New Jersey side with 12 and 10 points respectively.
While Beyond’s offense has been steady this season, the defense has struggled to keep opposing teams out of its’ end and allowing 26 goals. With WIFC only allowing 16 goals this season, Beyond’s backline will need to play tight and isolate key plers such as Kadda and Gallagher is the team hopes to hold off the talent offense.
For Williamsburg, the game plan should be simple - play as if it was the fall season. After dropping the spring debut to FC Japan, 2-1, due to a red card limiting the team’s abilities, the squad did get back to its winning ways in Week 13 against Panatha USA, 7-0. With Beyond and Japan both in similar situations, the game will depend on concentrated play from the Doylies without sloppy fouls. Giving an inch to a hungry team could spell disaster and ultimately be the thing that keeps WIFC out of the D2 playoffs.