By Jay Mwamba
A week after bagging a hat trick in Doxa’s previous game, Kareem Joachim struck again last Sunday to stun CSL powerhouse Pancyprian Freedoms 1-0 in the Hellenic derby at Skidelsky Field. The win saved the Paul Grafas-drilled Greeks from relegation in their maiden season in the top flight.
Joachim scored in the third minute, finishing off a move involving Kurt Cameron and Patrick Alvarez. Both he and Cameron were denied by the woodwork in the second half.
“Pancyprians underestimated our team by a mile because of the results they got off us in the fall,” said manager Foti Bouklis, alluding to the 6-1 shellacking by the Greek-Cypriots last October.
Doxa [4-6-7, 18] had gone into the match buoyed by a 4-1 thrashing of Manhattan Celtic seven days earlier. Joachim [three] and Juan Ramirez connected.
In the curtain raiser at Skidelsky Field, Alex Kiourkounedis, Doxa’s injured first team goalie who’s reinvented himself as an infield player for the reserves, got the only goal. He came close to getting a second, on Peter Tsioumas’ assist.
The loss to Doxa ‘A’ was Pancyprian’s first defeat in 2017. It came four days after the seven-time CSL titlists had downed defending champs Lansdowne Bhoys 1-0 at Tibbetts Brook Park on Diogo Pereira’s 30-yard pile driver.
“We have most of the team back and healthy and are getting better each game in time for the playoffs,” said Pancyrian GM George Halkidis.
Lansdowne, meanwhile, rebounded well from that defeat to Pancyprian – only their second in the league in more than two and a year half years. They edged semi-pro side FC Motown Celtics of the Garden State Soccer League 2-1 to advance to the USASA Werner Fricker U.S. Open Cup Region 1 final.
Jacques Francois and Lukas Zarges scored as the Yonkers Irish reached their fifth final this spring.
They are also through to the U.S. Amateur Cup Region 1 final, the Manning Cup and have teams in the D’Arpino Cup and Strumpf Cup finals.
In the league, dead ball specialist Daniele Iamicelli scored two free kicks in title holders Lansdowne reserves’ 4-2 loss to Shamrock ‘B’ at St. Michael’s Playground.
Andrew Scott [two], skipper Paul McDaid and Sean O’Neill [pen.] connected for the Rocks.
Relegation threatened Manhattan Celtic battled to a goalless draw with Cedar Stars Academy in their penultimate fixture at the Williamsbridge Oval.
“[We] are the only team to shutout Cedar Stars this season. Pretty good game,” remarked Celtic’s Scott Rowling.
A 3-0 victory over injury-hit NYAC in their season finale at Icahn Stadium on Randalls Island this Saturday [7:45 pm] could see the Celts avoid the drop.
Josue Ortiz and Agim Muja produced the Cedar reserves’ 2-0 win.
Depleted NYAC, for their part, warmed up for that decisive clash with Celtic by thrashing bottom side Polonia 4-0 on Randalls Island.
“Key players are still out with injuries. They won’t be back until next season,” said coach Erik Bagwell after Ryan Curran, Laurin Vogel, Andre Wilkinson and Ben Biron had seen off the Poles.
There was the familiar gutsy effort by NYAC’s seconds in the opener.
“John Stamatis scored a hat trick in the first half as two undermanned sides played some semblance of soccer in the usual Mother’s Day scramble for players,” reported NYAC reserve boss Bill Saporito.
“We had three goalkeepers on the field, one of whom, Adam Purdy played striker and scored to put us up 4-1 at the intermission. The second half was wide open, but Brian Kuritzky and Andrew Meisel were on hand to answer twice for each Polonia goal.”
NYAC triumphed 8-3 to improve to 13-2-2 . They climbed into first place on the Reserve log, a point ahead of Lansdowne ‘B’ with a game to play this Saturday. NYAC play Celtic and Lansdowne face Doxa.
Divided by two points, leaders Manhattan Kickers and number two Hoboken FC both won, setting the stage for a winner-take-all showdown between the Division Two South rivals at Laurel Hill Park in Secaucus, New Jersey, Sunday.
On Randalls Island, Kickers [11-1-2, 34] pipped City International 2-1 on goals by Mike Morozuk and Patrick Robak.
Ryan Hanehan had City’s response from Hrvoje Brkjacic’s through ball.
Almir Hot, Lodjewick Kuijpers and Danny Challita starred in the Kicker reserves’ 3-1 victory. It was the first game this spring that player-coach Dennis Kachintsev had neither an assist nor a goal.
Fredie Lagos nodded in a Berk Kasal corner for City.
Hoboken FC had a double shutout against FC Japan, also on Randalls Island.
Jeff Natale [9th, 67th], Brendan Lowe with his first goals for the club [70th, 77th], and Gleb Mironenko [90th] tallied in the reserves’ 5-0 romp.
In the ‘A’ game, Alex Wallin [25th]; Eric Terzer, who also opened his Hoboken account [65th] and Josh Murphy [86th] upped the Jersey side’s record to 10-2-2 , ahead of the clash with Kickers.
Out of the title race in the South but still firing on all cylinders, fourth place CPR Reds hammered Beyond FC 6-1 at Laurel Hill Park field.
Donal O’Cofaigh [two], Timur Mone, Colin Haggerty, Andrew Fisher and Deco Heffernan got the goals.
Freddy Garcia, Tom Hagenaars and Andrew Fisher earned Reds ‘B’ a 3-2 decision.
Steve Kovalenko’s New York Ukrainian fired in 10 goals in two games, four days, apart to nestle into mid-table in the South.
Stal Mielec were the Ukrainians’ first victims in a midweek fixture at Verrazano Sports Complex. The Poles were hammered 5-0.
Adam Maliniak [pen. 20th], Chris Munoz [30th], Lukasz Prawdzik [46th], Andres Munoz [70th] and Gamil Yahya [75th] connected.
NY Ittihad were next in the firing line. The Munoz brothers connected again, Chris once and Andres three times, while Lukasz Prawdzik got the fifth. Player-coach Mohammad Nasim had Ittihad’s face-saver.
Ukrainians’ reserves went two better than their first team, hitting Ittihad ‘B’ for seven with one in return. Shady Amari, David Barry, Iurii Vovk, Joshua Fischer, Dmitri Jacobs and Rah Khan were among the scorers.
The division title in the North is also on the line this Saturday with first place CPR Whites [10-2-2, 32] squaring off with their closest pursuers Brishna [10-1-4, 31]. Both were victorious last weekend.
Joe Paljaj keyed CPR’s 3-2 come-back win over FC Spring Valley at Pomona Middle School with a brace. This after Valley had canceled out Tim Michiels’ opener to go ahead. Paljaj’s winner came from a penalty when Idy Watt was fouled.
The curtain raiser was a thriller, with CPR players scoring twice in the opening six minutes, the first an own goal [2nd]. Alex Norocea leveled [6th] while center back Chris Gardner [two] and Jambaar Stills got the others – the latter from Alex Subin’s assist.
Brishna blanked Panatha 4-0 at Verrazano.
Noorullah Mashriqi was the NYPD FC star in a 1-0 decision over Bronx Supreme at Flushing Meadow Field.
An 8-1 mauling over Deportivo Sociedade on Randalls Island completed back-to-back Metro division titles for Williamsburg International FC with two games to spare.
Nicolas Mikolenko’s hat trick spurred the “Doylies” in their successful quest for the Metro One crown. Charles von Rosenberg and John Kaddo both notched a brace, while Mark Gallagher accounted for the other goal.
Williamsburg [12-2-2, 38] got an assist of sorts from NYFC Iliria who effectively ended hitherto second place Korabi’s challenge with a 4-1 rout on Staten Island.
Williamsburg were Metro Two West champions last season. Williamsburg II, who play in that division, were 3-0 forfeit winners over SS Lazio.
Bledi Kovaci [two], Suad Djega and Van Mehmeti were on target in the 4-1 pounding of Korabi that lifted Iliria them into second place [9-4-1, 31].
Ridgeway Romac recovered from a third minute Hughie McGowan goal to prevail 4-2 over Shamrock 1960.
Ayhan Bekdemir [13th, 25th], Catalin Ionita [40th] and Emre Tetik [51st] turned it around for Ridgewood. Anthony Carrabotta was the other Shamrock scorer.
“Except for the usual terrible first five to 10 minutes – we were down 1-0 in the third minute — everything went well,” said assistant coach Ovi Ordean.
At Van Buren HS, the prolific Eric “Gonzo” Goncalves converted a Gotham Argo penalty in a 2-1 loss to New York Croatia.
The Metro Two East title in the bag, Mr. Dennehy’s cruised to a 3-0 win over Afghanistan at Flushing Meadow.
Johnny Stocker, Daniel Cano and Tommy Walsh scored.
SC Eintracht crashed 7-1 to Richmond County on Randalls Island with Alex getting the face-saver.
Brazilian Rodolfo Oliveira’s 76th minute free kick condemned newly crowned Metro Two West BW Gottschee to a 2-1 defeat to NYC Metro Stars – their first ever since their reincarnation in the CSL two seasons ago.
Gottschee captain Dion Amvrosiatos’ penalty before the interval had canceled out Ecuadorian Guisseppe Romero’s opener [19th] for Metro Stars. But Oliveira’s Brazilian skills decided a tough match in the hosts’ favor.
“It was [Geoffrey] Chaucer who said all good things must come to an end and our 33 game undefeated streak in the league was a pretty good run,” noted a philosophical John Ryder, evoking the English poet of the Middle Ages.
“What an amazing game,” gushed the victorious Edison Calle, whose sizzling side — unbeaten this year – stayed a point behind second place Beyond FC [10-1-5, 31], ahead of their encounter this Sunday.
At the Prospect Park Parade Grounds, Beyond FC beat Brooklyn Bound 1-0 on Ibrahim al Sahybi’s strike.
Barnstonworth Rovers’ Joaco “Pechito” Lynch put on a late virtuoso display against Flushing FC to nick a 2-0 victory at Van Buren HS.
He slipped between two defenders to slot in the opener [88th].
“He then assisted Jorge Espanol for the clincher in the 90th minute off a counter while Flushing was pushed up looking for an equalizer,” said Timothy Hattori.
“It was a hard fought battle through 80 minutes but Barnstonworth scored two late [goals] to secure victory,” summed up Flushing’s Ryan Weidman.
Mauricio Turizo reeled in five goals at the Metropolitan Oval as NY Greek Americans Over-30s outgunned Manhattan Kickers Premier 6-4 to pick up a second trophy with more beckoning.
Manolis Koundourakis was the other scorer for the Greeks who, with BW Gottschee forfeiting this weekend’s fixture, clinched the West division title [11-2-3, 35] ahead of CPR Old Boys.
It was the proverbial tale of two halves, according to Kickers manager Mike Fitzgerald.
Khouri Mullings [25th] and Alex Petrovic [33rd] had Kickers up 2-0. NYGA pulled one back before the half.
That would be the turning point in the game.
“With three starters dropping out less than three hours before [the match] we went in undermanned and it hurt us big time down the stretch,” observed Fitzgerald.
NYGA’s silverware hunt continues in the Region I semifinals of the USASA’s Gerhard Mengel Over-30 National Tournament against Danbury FC this weekend.
“June 4, we will be playing for the league semifinals. Then June 11 for the [Marth] state cup final against Germania and June 18 the USASA Regional final if we beat Danbury,” said Tom Bouklis.
They won their first trophy in the CSL Indoor tournament last March.
Red hot Johnny McGeeney bagged four goals for the second week in a row as Shamrock Over 30s routed CPR Old Boys 5-1 on Randalls Island.
Kevin Walsh was the other marksmen for the defending CSL champs while Creighton Mershon had CPR’s consolation.
On Randalls Island, Manhattan Celtic Legends beat Lansdowne 4-1 in their Over-30 clash.
Brian Mazza, Michael Prindville, Takahashi Yoshizaki and John Tanios scored. Stephan Keating replied for the Bhoys, whose playoff hopes remain in balance.
Elsewhere on Randalls Island, Celtic Bhoys edged Pancyprian 3-2 on goals by Youcef Mami [two] and Gareth Hanson.
Zach Kelly and Adil El-Mouji tallied in CPR Grays’ 2-2 draw with Hoboken FC.
James Carrico also secured a point for CPR Orange who played out a 1-1 tie with Brooklyn Gunners.
Karol Hughes was another four-goal Shamrock hero at the weekend. His scoring spree came in the Shamrocks Legends’ 9-1 massacre of Hoboken in an Over-37 game across the Hudson.
Eoghan McParland, John Riordan, Brian O’Connor, Stevie Doyle and Colin Lee also tallied.
David James Stewart [two], Joe Whitman, Ibrahim Bindul, Yadh Yaich and Paul Cowler delivered for Manhattan Kickers Legends Over-37 in a 6-1 thrashing of Eintracht, whose Juan replied.
“It was a must win for us to secure a playoff spot,” said Eddie Yee Woo Guo.
“We’d have topped the division if not for the two games forfeited rather harshly.”
And in the early fixture on Randalls, Celtic Masters ended their spring campaign with a 3-2 win over Banatul – their seventh straight of the season. Leo Doromadou, Kevin Booth and Ian Grusd struck.