December 13, 2012
SOME VERY SWEET REVENGE
CSL: Pancyprian Freedoms overcome G-A Atlas in penalties to win back ENY Open Cup crown
By Jay Mwamba
|Goalkeeper Chad Calderone came up with two vital saves for Pancyprian Freedoms vs. Greek-American Atlas in ENY Open Cup final.
Photo courtesy of the New York Cosmos
Just when their season was looking bleaker than Arsenal’s, Pancyprian Freedoms stirred back to life on a frigid night at St. John’s University’s last Wednesday.
They stunned New York Greek-American/Atlas, 4-2, on penalties in the Eastern New York Open Cup final at Belson Stadium to regain the state title.
Pancyprian’s victory before 500 fans was sweet payback for the Greek-Cypriots, last year’s U.S. Amateur champions who have been a shadow of their former imperious selves this campaign.
Atlas had snapped Pancyprian’s run of four straight ENY titles with an emphatic 4-0 drubbing in the 2011 final. There was also a 2-0 loss to Atlas in the Sal Rapaglia Cup this fall and just three days prior to this latest Hellenic derby, the Greeks had ended Pancyprian’s seventh Manning Cup reign, 4-3, on penalties.
Their only meeting in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League's top flight this season ended 2-2, as did this clash after 90 minutes. It was the third straight ENY final between the two clubs.
Pancyprian got off to a quick start with John Koutsounadis setting up Stefan Dimitrov for an early lead.
Nearly 40 minutes later, Stony Brook University standout Leo Fernandes leveled after slaloming through the Pancyprian defense and beating Chad Calderone in goal.
With the clock ticking, Brazilian veteran Julio Cesar Santos restored Pancyprian’s lead in the 74th minute. But Chris Megaloudis rescued Atlas two minutes from time, forcing penalties for the second time in 72 hours.
The outstanding Calderone was the star of the shootout. He saved Atlas’ first and fourth shots, by Tom Wharf and Fernandes, respectively, to secure Pancyprian’s fifth ENY title in eight years.
“It’s very difficult to beat Chad in penalties two games in row,” Atlas general manager George Mellis said. “He’s the best goalie in the league by far.”
While Atlas, as the Sal Rapaglia Cup holders, had a bye to the final, Pancyprian knocked off Olympiacos [15-1], Barnstonworth Rovers [4-1] and United FC [2-1] to qualify.
Their reward is a berth in USASA Region I finals next spring, where they will attempt to qualify for the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup for the fourth time in six years.
Fresh off his goal and assist against Atlas, Pancyprian’s Stefan Dimitrov would strike again in a 2-1 decision over Hoboken FC in the CSL at Overpeck County Park last Sunday.
Paolo Costa was the other Pancyprian scorer while Kyle Grato replied for the hosts, whose reserves lost, 2-0.
Pancyprian are now 4-4-1  in the West.
“We are still confident we can win everything we are still in,” declared Atlas co-coach Joe Ruesgen after the setback to Pancyprian.
Four days later, Megaloudis & Co. set out to prove him right, thrashing Polonia, 8-0, on Randalls Island with Megaloudis netting a hat-trick for the CSL champions who are 7-1-1 [22 points] atop the East.
Dominick Sarle also bagged three while Dan Gwyther and Fernandes had a goal each.
“Another well needed and deserved three points that keeps us in the mix for the playoffs,” Ruesgen said.
Atlas’ reserves slipped 2-1.
Second-half goals by John Stamatis, from a 22-yard free kick, and Yannick Ryering [penalty kick] earned New York Athletic Club a 2-1 victory over giant-killers United FC on Travers Island.
NYAC’s reserves won, 3-0.
“We scored three very classy goals,” Bill Saporito said. “The first came about 25 minutes in when Elton Hassall slipped a pass down the right channel to David Blum, to get behind their trap. Blum raced to the byline and rolled a perfectly weighted pass across the goal that Chris Barsky slotted home without breaking stride. Swift and certain.”
“Their defense unlocked, Blum did almost the same thing again, this time delivering a ball to Ryan Kneipper, who finished from within the six yard box, a few minutes before the half,” Saporito added.
“We knew at the interval that one more goal would finish the contest, and around 60 minutes another three-man move finished the job. This time Kneipper received the ball on the left wing just inside their half and one-timed a great pass across the field to Blum that completely exposed their trap. Blum found Brian Kuritzky, who finished easily.”
Central Park Rangers failed to regain first place in the West after conceding a late penalty in a 1-1 draw with New York Croatia in Boonton, N.J.
Lasse Kokko scored for CPR  who are a point behind leaders United FC.
CPR manager Yuval Lion blamed the field at the Croatian Recreation Center, while conceding, “in the end the draw was a fair result as a hard working Croatia equalized with a very late penalty kick."
His reserves won, 2-0, on Chris Norelli’s brace.
“The score should have been far greater, but the poor field conditions led to a lot of sloppy play and missed opportunities,” Lion remarked.
Player-coach Austin Friel [10th minute] led the charge at Tibbetts Brook Park where Lansdowne Bhoys trounced Barnstonworth Rovers, 3-0, to join CPR in joint second on the 18-point mark.
Papa Thioune [40th minute] and Sean Reilly [70th minute] were the other scorers.
“We only had eight fresh players and let in a bad early goal,” Rovers boss Stavros Zomopoulos said.
Nick Bill struck for Rovers’ second unit in a 1-1 tie.
A week after their Manning Cup tie was decided on penalties, Kevin Grogan’s Jersey City Eagles and Manhattan Celtic battled to a 1-1 draw in the league. Celtic’s Jonathan Juchno [70th minute] canceled out Scott Waddell’s strike [50th minute].
“We are slowly but surely getting more experience and more mature. I was happy with our performance,” Grogan said.
The Celtic reserves slumped 1-0.
Second Division leaders Manhattan Kickers [6-0-2, 20] maintained their unbeaten run without dropping a sweat. They were awarded a 3-0 forfeit win over NYPD.
Andrew Burke gave the Kicker reserves a 1-0 win.
Stal Mielec handed New York Ukrainians its first loss of the season, 3-1 at McCarren Park, to knock Steve Kovalenko’s men out of second place.
Kestutis Mykolaitis [two] and an own goal produced the win.
It was the reverse in the opener, with Waldemar Pyryt Stal’s scorer in a 3-1 defeat.
At Bushwick Inlet, Shamrock made up for the previous week’s hiccup against FC Gwardia to thrash the Poles 4-0 in a Second Division fixture.
Paul McDaid [15th inute], Tyrone Kent [60th minute] and Sean Riley [70th and 80th minutes] got it right the second time around seven days after the Rocks had blown a two-goal lead in a 2-2 tie with Gwardia on Roosevelt Island.
Sean McMullan, top scorer for the Shamrock reserves, bagged his eighth league goal of the season in a 2-1 decision over FC Gwardia at Bushwick Inlet. Braden Ruddy got the other.
The burly McMullan dedicated the goal to his recently deceased uncle Patrick McMullan.
Winless Homenetmen made a fight of it for a while, even taking a 1-0 lead. But in battle of two Metro Division Two sides with diametrically opposite records, East pace-setters CD Iberia prevailed, 3-1, on Randalls Island to take a flawless 9-0  record into the winter break.
The Armenians end the fall 0-9 in the West.
Still, Iberia needed a brace from Andrew “El Dragon” Rodriguez to subdue Homenetmen who threatened to pull off an upset after Caio Kac’s free kick [65th]. Antonio Trillo got Iberia’s other goal.
“After inexplicably going down 1-0 [they only reached our goal twice all match] our guys woke up and put the game away,” said David Lago. “We are content about going in the break in first place, but championships are not won in December.”
Ronan Gardiner was among six scorers in Mr. Dennehy’s 6-2 drubbing of BW G Cosmos on Randalls Island. He nodded one in for the Carmine Street boys [6-1-1, 19] who closed to within two points of Metro One [West] leaders Lansdowne.
“Despite rumors to the contrary, this was not my first headed goal since before the Internet was invented!” Gardiner jokingly said.
Peter O'Keefe, Gerry Smith, Lance Pitterson, Josh Southall and Jimmy Kuo also tallied for Dennehy’s, which led early, then trailed 2-1 before reeling off four unanswered goals.
Unbeaten Metro Two leaders Grenadier Zenith won a 4-3 thriller against free scoring Hicksville All-Stars at the Verrazano Sports Complex.
Rolin Andre, Zenith’s top scorer and captain of the Cosmos Copa NYC winning Haitian side, netted twice with Fabrice Dunbar and Jerry Desruisseaux adding one each.
Zenith improved to 8-0-1 , seven points ahead of third-place Hicksville, which has scored 43 goals in eight games.
What was a 1-1 affair at halftime turned into a 7-2 rout for CPR Blacks who ran riot against NYPD at Bushwick Inlet.
Brandon Levy, Baha'a Ahmed and Chris Valentine each scored twice, while Serge Verdoux got one.
Sharp-shooter Izlet Arslanovic got both NYPD goals in the Metro Two tussle.
New York Galicia’s Francesc Guitart and Eduardo Lijo [two goals] starred in a 3-1 romp over FC New York Bravehearts, whose Fidelis Idoko scored.
Elsewhere on Randalls Island, Jorge Español [first and 10th minutes], Brandon Rowley [20th minute], Remo Enea [35th minute] and Jeremy Brown [60th minute] saw off, SC Eintracht 5-1.
Shamrock Over-30 newcomer Anton Diver scored twice [47th minute and an 88th-minute penalty] to snatch a dramatic 2-1 victory over Barnstonworth Old Boys in the Rocks’ penultimate match of the fall.
His heroics earned him man of the match accolades from coach Paddy McCarry, who also cited Stevie Doyle’s exploits in defense for the CSL Over-30 champs [3-5-1, 10].
Eleven points clear of Shamrock atop the Over-30 Division One [West] log are Manhattan Celtic Legends, who had goals by Marc Zenon [two], John O’Neil and Simon Nee in 4-2 decision over New York Greek-American/Atlas at Columbia Field.
BIRDS OF PREY
Earlier at Columbia Field, Legends’ sister club Manhattan Celtic Bhoys had crashed 3-0 to Jersey City Eagles whose Vuksan Djoljevic [two] and Anton Camaj were on target.
Barnstonworth Rovers Premier ace Nedgy Nazon bagged a hat-trick in a 7-2 destruction of SC Einracht.
DeQuan Walker [two], Ian Thorn and Aldo Morales accounted for the other goals as Premier [6-1-1, 19] stayed two points behind Premier in the West.
In the East, frontrunners Manhattan Kickers Premier [7-1-1, 22] rebounded from two consecutive defeats in league and cup action to beat Tesoro, 3-1, on Luka Jagodziniski’s hat-trick.
At Forest Hills High School, Barnstonworth Rovers 11 proved too much for Kickers Over-30s’ 10 starters in a 7-2 blowout.
“[We] were quick off the mark scoring through Oscar Cantu and Tim Hattori before [Kickers] knew what hit them,” said Mike Alexander, who stood in for Rovers’ missing goalkeeper and made some crucial saves.
Hattori went on to score three more with Salvatore Giametta and Thomas Kitzing adding to the tally.
Former Shamrock Onder Koksal struck six times in Troy Turkish United’s 8-5 shoot-out with BW G Cosmos.
Mitat Dumlu added a brace in the Over-30 Division Two encounter.
Stig Ertresvaag was the difference in CPR Greys’ 1-0 decision over CPR Old Boys on Randalls Island.
“The Greys deservedly kept top position in the league and bragging rights within CPR with a keenly contested and hard fought win over our club-mates,” Yuval Lion said.
Omar Ramos, Steve Dobson and Dennis Thun connected as Hoboken FC 1912 came away from Forest Hills with a 3-0 win over Guyana Veterans ‘B.’
On Randalls Island, Hoboken FC 1912 veterans struggled for numbers, fielding just eight players in the first half and nine in the second while limiting CPR Legends to one goal up to the 65th minute.
“But exhaustion took it's toll and we ended up losing 4-0,” Lucian Ciulla said.
Also in Over-30 Division Two, Darran Cronshaw had Nieuw Amsterdam’s consolation goal in a 2-1 loss to FC Partizani.