By Jay Mwamba
New York Greek Americans tossed out New Jersey’s Brick Lions FC 3-1 at the Pinewood Park Soccer Complex, in Brick, NJ, last Sunday to reach the Region I semifinals of the USASA’s Gerhard Mengel Over-30 National Tournament.
The CSL envoys overcame the odds in the Garden State. They had early goals by Jimmy Shalom and Mauricio Turizo disallowed for offside in the opening 10 minutes and then trailed.
But Enzo Conigliaro and Turizo struck back, in between an own goal forced by Diego Gorosito’s high press, to stun the home side.
“We were able to pull together and come through with the win,” said NYGA’s Tom Bouklis.
The Greeks face Connecticut envoys Danbury United in the last four on May 21 at the Met Oval field. Danbury knocked out Kel Kau of Massachusetts in the last eight.
To reach the Mengel Cup quarterfinals, NYGA overcame Hellenic foes Pancyprian Freedoms on penalties. They’d battled back from two down in that game to equalize and force a shoot-out.
The Greeks defeated NY Polet of the LISFL 4-0 in the Eastern New York Round of 16.
It’s Steve Kovalenko’s New York Ukrainians against Central Park Rangers Whites in another all-CSL Flamhaft Cup final on June 4.
Ukrainians edged CSL rivals FC Spring Valley 2-1 thanks to Gamil Yahya’s 87th winner at Pomona Middle School.
Spring Valley had earlier canceled out Cassie Costa’s 10th minute opener. “The game was worthy of a semi-final for sure,” remarked assistant coach Boris Shapoval.
CPR, meanwhile, prevailed 2-0 over the EDSL’s Oranje 1777 on Randalls Island.
“Our high pressure paid off when Mouni Kabore pounced on a deflected keeper clearance to roll into an empty net [13th],” reported Eli Vovsha. “We doubled the lead midway through the first half when an excellent Tim Michiels header was superbly saved by the keeper but Ilya Kamesh crossed the rebound back into the box where this time Tim headed it in.
“We controlled the remainder of the game without too much trouble though credit to them, without subs, they tried hard until they ran out of energy.”
A second Lansdowne team is through to a State Cup. The Bhoys’ Metro Div. One side came from behind to pip NYC Metro Stars 2-1 and book a date in the Strumpf Cup final with Mr. Dennehy’s.
Metro Stars ace Mamadou Diombera had the Edison Calle-drilled side ahead against Lansdowne until the last 10 minutes. That’s when Oswaldo Valencia and Dion Norney connected to secure a first ever cup final appearance for Lansdowne’s de facto third side.
Their first XI is already in the Manning Cup final against Shamrock.
The Dennehy’s-Williamsburg clash ended 1-1. Kevin Ruppel set up Mark Gallagher for the latter and Andres Sole was on target for Dennehy’s, who went on to win 5-4 on penalties.
Shamrock Over-30s reign as Marth Cup champions ended amid drama in Poughkeepsie with a 3-1 semifinal loss to Germania.
Johnny McGeeney seemed to have Paddy McCarry’s lads headed back to the final with the opener, but a disputed Germania equalizer and a missed Shamrock penalty would ultimately cost the holders.
“[The] loss is hard to take,” said Paddy McCarry. “But I can’t take anything away from my players. They put in a huge effort and on another day the result could have been different.”
Shamrocks became the first CSL team in history to win the Marth State Cup for Over-30 teams when they defeated the LISFL’s Baisley United 4-2 in last year’s final.
LANSDOWNE RUN ENDS
More than two and a half years since their last league defeat, three-time champs Lansdowne Bhoys finally lost a game. The Yonkers Irish succumbed 2-1 to Cedar Stars Academy at Tibbetts Brook Park last Saturday. It was their third game in six days.
“It had to happen at some point after 47 games unbeaten in the CSL and thankfully it occurred against a top team with top players in what can only be described as an epic game of soccer,” said Lansdowne president William McGrory. “It had everything and was played at a pace that kept the large crowd in attendance on their toes, what an advertisement for amateur soccer.”
“This was an extremely well-played and hard-fought battle that shows the high level of play in the CSL,” echoed Cedar owner and coach Oliver Papraniku.
Last beaten in the CSL by the now defunct NYC Rovers on September 28, 2014 [a 2-1 result], the Bhoys fell behind to a Paul Nittoli goal in the second half.
They had two chances to turn it around from the spot. However, their former goalie, Andrew Tartara, came up big, stopping Ovan Oakley’s penalty before Karim Russell converted a second spot kick.
Then Andreas Chronis restored Cedar’s lead after some sloppy play by the Bhoys.
“Coach Austin Friel introduced [Ibrahim] Diaby, Yannick [Reyering] and [Marcos] Nunez, and for the final 15 minutes it was the Bhoys who piled on the pressure,” added McGrory. “Yannick and Diaby both went close but it was McKauly Tulloch, who went closest hitting the right post from close range. A jaded Cedar team retreated into their own half for the final few minutes but there was no equalizer to come for Lansdowne.”
With the second place Shamrocks tying Manhattan Celtic on the same night, Lansdowne’s lead in the CSL was cut to a mere point. The Bhoys, now 12-1-2 , had regained first place in the top flight from the Rocks last Wednesday with a 4-0 romp over New York Athletic Club at Verrazano Sports Complex.
Friel had rang the changes for the midweek fixture after the 3-0 defeat of Kendall Wanderers FC in the USASA Werner Fricker U.S. Open Cup Region 1 semi-finals on April 23.
Jean Voltaire, Reyering, an own goal and Kavanagh lifted the champions past NYAC. Former New England Revolution Andrew Sousa and McKauly Tulloch, both made their Lansdowne debut.
In the Lansdowne-Cedar curtain raiser, the Bhoys prevailed 5-4.
Carson Pryor, Mike Fernandez and Daniele Lamiceli had the CSL First Division Reserve champs 3-0 up before Cedar stormed back to tie 3-3. Ilir Muja Mujaj [two] and Jordan Ayris replied for Cedar.
But more two goals from Fernandez killed off Cedar ‘B,’ leaving Lansdowne , a point ahead of Greek Americans on the standings.
At St. Michael’s Playground on Saturday night, Dan Giorgi’s first ever goal for the Shamrocks earned Kevin Grogan’s lads a 1-1 tie with Manhattan Celtic.
Augusto Tono scored early [5th] off a loose ball for the Celts after Abou Kaba had a cross deflected. Giorgi equalized midway through the second half.
“Pretty evenly matched game,” said Celtic boss Scott Rowling.
“We got to give valuable minutes to players,” said Grogan. “It’s important that all squad players have minutes under their belts before the play-offs and State Cup final.”
The Shamrock reserves joined their first team in the playoffs with a 3-0 thrashing off Celtic ‘B.’
Seán O’Neill, George Lara and captain Paul McDaid were on target to complete back-to-back wins for the second unit. Darren Coleman [two] and Seán O’Neill had connected three days earlier in a 3-2 decision over Zum Schneider on Randalls Island.
Chris Megaloudis, one of the best strikers ever to play in the CSL, notched a hat trick as Pancyprian Freedoms all but clinched a playoff spot with a 5-1 shellacking of Polonia at St. John’s University.
Adam Himeno and Diogo Pereira added one apiece.
Only a monumental collapse in their last three games can deny the third place Greek-Cypriots a playoff berth. They are five points clear of Cedar and eight ahead of New York Greek Americans.
The Pancyprian and Polonia reserves tied 4-4.
NYGA, meanwhile, underscored that they’re yet to give up on their playoff dreams with a fifth straight win. They blanked NYAC 4-0 on Travers Island.
Stephen Roche [two] Adam Marcu and Joe Ruesgen scored for the Greek visitors.
The curtain raiser came to a scintillating end after Fernando Robayo and Storm Strongin had the NYGA in front for 65 minutes.
“We were awful for 65 minutes — and credit the Greeks’ well-organized defense for some of that,” said NYAC boss Bill Saporito. “We went down 2-0 at the half. Finally, Brian Whiston got us on the board after a nicely worked pass from the left wing. Ten minutes later he got the second off a similar play [75th]. Ben Biron got the winner in the 88th minute, roofing a vicious, short-angled shot.”
On Randalls Island, Zum Schneider and Doxa FC tied 2-2.
The latter’s Kareem Joachim and Kevin Quintero exchanged goals with Zum’s Jepherson Vernaza Martinez and Ifi Akpandak.
Nick Coulson and Geoff Zartarian [two] produced the Zum reserves’ 3-0 victory.
Hoboken FC made the most of Manhattan Kickers’ weekend off to move atop the Division Two South standings. They hammered Beyond FC 5-1 at Laurel Hill Park in a local derby between the CSL second tier’s two New Jersey-based clubs.
Beyond showed some early fight, Sherief El-Helaifi [19th] pegging back Josh Murphy’s 13th minute strike. But Cory Chaplin [30th, 90th], James Reed [33rd] and Danny Fernandez [86th] would blow Beyond away.
Hoboken [9-2-2, 29] went a point clear of Kickers and four in front of Stal Mielec, who also were off.
The Hoboken FC Reserves won 2-1. The goal scorers were:
Gleb Mironenko [17th] and Rabii Elguermouni [75th] scored in the Hoboken seconds’ 2-1 decision. Karl Verna [88th] had Beyond’s response.
Timur Mone [two], Ed Tinsley and Deco Heffernan starred for CPR Reds in a 4-2 win over City International on Randalls.
Harper Williams got both City goals off assists by Jacob Frost and Hrvoje Brkljačić.
Reds’ reserves rolled to a 4-0 victory, thanks to Hendrik DeRuiter [two], Freddy Garcia and Jordan Reid
Also in Division Two South, bottom clubs NY Ittihad and FC Japan drew 0-0 after a 2-all tie in the opener.
A joint club a season ago when they were known as NYPD-Brishna, the two sides clashed last Sunday with Brishna coming out tops 3-2 to join the Cops in second position on the Division Two North log.
Essa Hotaki, Mohammad Yusuf Mashriqi and Moriken Sangary connected. Ugur Gotekin bagged both NYPD goals.
On the 25-point mark, they trail CPR Whites by one, although CPR have two games in hand to NYPD and one to Brishna.
NYPD’s reserves won 5-1.
Manager David Lago called it a continuation of “our roller coaster year” as CD Iberia, who alternate moments of brilliance with indifference, edged Inter New York SA 3-2.
With just 18 players available for both games [six of them first team regulars] they conceded the opener 2-0.
Five of the six first teamers played in the reserve tussle but stepped up their game in the senior fixture after falling behind.
Chiki Vazquez leveled from an exquisite free kick [48th], Dieguito “Speedy” Gonzalez made it 2-1 [62nd] and when Inter equalized, Iberia responded with old vigor.
“We then threw the kitchen sink at them and in the 86th minute Javi “Perce” Beiro put in a header for the ‘GW’,” said Lago. “Hats off to their keeper who made at least eight to nine great saves that should have gone in. Also, a big thanks to those guys who did double duty.”
Iberia, 6-6 , are in mid-table in Division Two North.
In other Division Two action, the Ukrainian reserves tied 0-0 with Stal ‘B’ at Bushwick Inlet. “Both teams played very hard and it was a fair result at the end,” summed up Ukrainians’ Boris Shapoval.
NanaYaw Panford’s only goal of the match handed mid-table Gotham Argo its biggest scalp of the season, Metro One title contenders Korabi at Pier 40.
“It was a great game, although it didn’t end well. We scored with about 10 minutes left in the game,” said Dana P. Dimon. “My center back ruptured his Achilles [tendon] in the game, and my high scoring striker broke his hand last week so two of my key players are out for the rest of the season.”
Aladji Kourouma [two], Toni Davidhi [two], Dardani Jashari and Ritvan Mehmeti [pen.] tallied in a 6-1 thrashing of Deportivo Sociedade to move NYFC Iliria to within four points of second place Korabi.
Elsewhere in Metro One, Shamrocks 1960 had goals from Robbie Kenneary and Danny Meola in a 4-2 loss to Mola SC at St. Michael’s.
Two more points from their remaining four games will secure BW Gottschee the Metro II West title after dismissing Homenetmen 4-1 on Randalls Island.
They had to work for it though. Christian Paredes go-ahead goal was canceled out before the interval following a botched Gottschee penalty.
“The half time talk focused on finishing chances and the lesson was not lost on the team,” said John Ryding.
Indeed, Luis ‘Panama’ Andrion, a Brandon Silva penalty and a second from Man of the Match Paredes, who fired home a free kick, iced it for undefeated Gottschee [12-0-2, 38].
Barnstonworth Rovers’ Pipe [Andres Gil] scored twice at Bushwick Inlet where Williamsburg II fell 3-0.
He got the first two and had the assist on the last goal.
“[The] third goal was a beauty, cross from Pipe and diving header from Captain Dave Leboff,” noted coach Timothy Hattori.
Four goals in the last 23 minutes vaulted Flushing FC from one down to a 4-1 romp against Deportivo Sociedade II at Flushing Meadow.
Flushing rallied after being caught on the break 67 minutes in.
“Samory Mullings turned the tide within 10 minutes by scoring twice, first slotting a penalty and adding a second shortly after,” reported Ryan Wiedman. “David Orsono and Alex Zoitos put in two more in the last 10 minutes.”
Putting their Marth Cup disappointment behind them, Shamrocks Over-30s were back in action two nights later and edged Manhattan Kickers Premier 2-1 on Randalls Island. They moved four points clear in the East and secured a playoff berth.
Tayfun Gokmen [5th] struck early and Bingo O’Driscoll midway through the second half [65th].
“Another tough loss versus the Shamrocks,” rued Mike Fitzgerald. “The Kickers would get one back late, when Oscar Villada found David Reischfeld to give the home team some hope. But the clock ran out and that’s the way it ended.”
The result was a blow to Premier [7-2-4, 23] who dropped nine points behind second Celtic Legends, despite the Irish side’s 2-2 draw with Brooklyn Gunners.
John Tanios and Brian Mazza scored for Celtic.
Legends sister side, Celtic Bhoys, meanwhile, are on Premier’s heels after whacking FC Partizani 5-1.
Jaime Gonzales, Yuri Gajev [two], Jesse Dinner and Danny Arkus scripted that victory.
TOUGH OLD BOYS
In Over-30 West action, CPR Old Boys downed Lansdowne Bhoys 4-2 in their top-of-the-table showdown to take a two-point lead [10-4, 30].
Seb [two], Scott Brindley and Steve Morse were on target for Old Boys. Jeff Farrell and Dannel Jackson replied for Lansdowne.
The prolific Taso Polydefkis bagged a brace while Mike Megaloudis and Adam Mathioudi added one apiece for Pancyprian who beat CPR Orange 4-2.
James Carrico had both Orange goals.
Coming off their first ever league defeat, champs Cozmoz had to settle for a 3-3 draw with Barnstonworth Old Boys, thanks to Nedgy Nazon, Marlon John and Duane Pena.
Celtic Master had stunned Cozmoz 3-1, the West frontrunners, the previous week and were in emphatic form once again, blowing out Barnstonworth Rovers Veterans 5-0.
Kevin Booth, Kevin Palmer and Raafet Olian [pen.] were among the marksmen. There was also a Rovers own goal.
“Masters are on in a roll with five straight wins and move up into second place,” enthused David Seal. “Booth started the scoring later in the first half with a back heel from two yards. The insurance goals came in the second half as Masters used their full 18-man roster to wear down the opposition.”
East leaders Manhattan Kicker Legends shut out Hoboken Legends 6-0 with four goals by David James Stewart and 10 men. Gilad Bloom and Eddie Yee Woo Guo got the other goals.
And Marcus Nascimento [two], Eoghan McParland and player-manager Emmett Harvey tallied in the Shamrocks Legends’ 4-2 triumph over Doxa Over-37 in an Over-37 fixture.