We have some exciting State Cup games taking place this weekend, mostly ENY quarterfinal matches, some of which are being played in the friendly confines of Randall's Island. If possible, please come out and watch these matches, to support our teams.
The schedule of games, in chronological order:
Manhattan Hotspur (G14) vs Brentwood United 10:30am Saturday, May 14
Location: Brentwood State Park
This is the third straight State Open Cup quarterfinals appearance for the MSC Hotspur, and we're all hoping that the third time is the charm. Hotspur suffered two excruciatingly close losses the past two years, to East Meadow in 2009, and to HBC last year, where they coughed up a 3-0 lead, only to lose 4-3. Absolutely brutal. Hotspur, coached by Ray Selvadurai, are favored to beat Brentwood on Saturday, but considering recent history at the quarters, the girls are not taking anything for granted. Brentwood is a very good NERP team, finishing the season this spring with a quality (4-2-1) record, good enough for third place in the U14 Blue Division. Hotspur competed in the more competitive Region One Premier League this spring, versus the very best girls teams the region had to offer.
Manhattan Cruzeiro (B13) vs HBC Fusion 2:00pm Saturday, May 14
Location: Randall's Field 70
MSC Cruzeiro has advanced to the State Open Cup quarterfinals for the second time in three years, hosting fellow NERP (Northeast Regional Premier League) team HBC Fusion at Randall's 70 on Saturday afternoon. HBC defeated Cruzeiro 2-0 in a league game in April, but the match was at HBC's home field. Cruzeiro, coached by Wilson Egidio, has made great strides the past two years, and are now a legitimate top ten team in ENY. If Cruzeiro can get by HBC in the quarters, they will have a tough but winnable semifinal against the winner of the LaGrange vs Dix Hills match, both teams competing in the same NERP age group as Cruzeiro.
Manhattan Ajax (B16) vs Lindenhurst Thunderbirds 2:30pm Saturday, May 14
Location: Lindenhurst Middle School, 350 South Wellwood Avenue, Lindenhurst, NY 11757-4982
Powerhouse, and two-time defending State Cup champions MSC Ajax, fresh off of their historic Region One Premier League title, will travel to Lindenhurst to play the Lindenhurst Thunderbirds on Saturday in an State Open Cup quarterfinal. Ajax have been coached by John Lathan since inception, going all the way back to 2004, and they've been outstanding for the duration. 2011 marks the fifth time in six years that the Ajax have advanced to at least the quarterfinals, which is tied for the best stretch of six consecutive years in club history with another outstanding Club team, the MSC Phoenix. With a victory on Saturday, the Ajax are looking to advance to the State Cup semis for the fourth time in their history, which will also be a Club record, but the ultimate goal will be a third straight State Cup title in early June. Ajax have already earned a trip to the Regional Championship by virtue of their Region One League title. Lindenhurst is a non premier team competing in Long Island Div 1 this Spring, so Ajax should have little trouble dispatching the Thunderbirds this Saturday.
Manhattan B98 Red (B12) vs Sparta FC 4:50pm Saturday, May 14
Location: Albert G Prodell Middle School, 100 Randall Road Shoreham, NY 11786
The only MSC team to have already advanced to the semifinals this spring is the B98 Red team, coached by Gabriel Campoverde. B98 Red defeated the Roosevelt Big Boys 3-1 two weeks ago in the quarterfinals to earn the right to play Sound Beach in the semis. B98 are competing in the ENY Challenge Cup tournament, where the last MSC team to advance all the way to the Cup semifinals was the MSC Hurricane, in 2009. Hurricane captured the U15 title that year, and B98 Red is only two wins away from achieving the same result.
Manhattan PSG 95 (B15) vs HBC Devils 12:00pm Sunday, May 15
Location: Randall's Field 70
Huge State Open Cup quarterfinals match for Manhattan PSG 95, versus Region One power and defending State Cup champions, HBC Devils. Manhattan PSG 95, coached by Ray Selvadurai, are competing in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2007, when they advanced to the semifinals before losing 2-1 to eventual Cup champion Plainview/Old Bethpage. Unfortunately, the subsequent three years were not kind to Manhattan, as they were eliminated from Cup play before the quarterfinals. They'll get another crack at advancing to the semis this weekend, but HBC will be a major hurdle. Manhattan PSG 95 is a quality team, having clinched a NERP division title last weekend with two big wins over Western United and Benfica. In addition to the Cup quarterfinal on Sunday, Manhattan will also play a very important NERP League championship match on Saturday versus Downtown United, scheduled for 4:00pm at Randall's Field 70. It could be a glorious weekend for our boys, or it could be a very bitter one. We're hoping for the former.
Manhattan Phoenix (B19) vs Highland Strikers 12:30pm Sunday, May 15
Location: SUNY campus at New Paltz
One of the very best teams ever to don a Manhattan uniform, the MSC Phoenix, have come back from college to compete one more time for the State Open Cup, as a U19 team. The Phoenix, a four-time competitor in the Region One Premier League where they advanced to the playoffs twice, and a two-time competitor in the Regional Championships, had an impressive yet frustrating Cup history during their reign at MSC. The Phoenix, coached by Wilson Egidio, reached the Cup quarterfinals in 2005, 2007, and 2009, and reached the semifinals in 2006, 2008, but never were able to reach a title game. This year the Phoenix are competing in the abbreviated U19 Cup division, comprised mostly of teams assembled from former Club players who are now competing in some form of college soccer program. Because of NCAA rules governing when players can compete in soccer competitions, the U19 Cup competition does not begin until May. Thus, the Phoenix will be playing in the first round this Sunday. It is anybody's guess how strong Highland will be, but I'm predicting that the Phoenix will have more than enough to dispatch them. Having them back on the pitch and competing for one final State Cup title is a great thrill for me, and on behalf of the entire Club I am wishing them the best of luck this spring.
Manhattan Fusion (G18) vs HBC Intense 4:00pm Sunday, May 15
Location: Randall's Field 85
This is the last hurrah for one of the strongest girls teams the Club has ever assembled. The Fusion, coached by Ray Selvadurai, have had a wonderful run at MSC, going all the way back to when they were first formed at U12 in June 2004. In that span the Fusion have competed in three NERP divisions, winning two of them, and for the past two years they competed in the uber competitive Region One Premier League. The Fusion reached the State Cup semifinals in 2005, and the quarters in both 2007 and 2008, but have suffered two painful Cup losses the past two years by late goals off of direct kicks from close range. This year is their first trip back to the State Open Cup quarterfinals since 2008. Drawing powerful HBC, a Region One Premier team that lost one match in divisional play this spring, was an unfortunate occurrence, but the Fusion will be home in this contest, and will definitely have a chance to get a good result. I have a bunch of good friends on this team for many years, so for me they are a sentimental favorite. It's difficult for me to believe that the girls will be shortly graduating on to bigger things in their lives. I'm hoping that they can stretch their MSC careers a few weeks longer.
Manhattan Matrix (B14) vs East Meadow Arsenal 4:15pm Sunday, May 15
Location: Randall's Field 70
MSC Matrix will host NERP power East Meadow Arsenal Sunday afternoon on Randall's 70. Matrix are one of two MSC Boys U14 teams to have advanced to the State Open Cup quarterfinals, which is an impressive club accomplishment. East Meadow, a team that finished second in the NERP Red Division with a (4-2-1) record, will be a major challenge for the Matrix, but home field advantage (yes, it definitely exists in soccer) could be a deciding factor. In any event, Matrix coach Neri Amaducci is sure to have the boys ready to play on Sunday. This is a home game, so if you're already out on Randall's Island for the afternoon, please drop by and support our teams in major competitions.
Manhattan PSG 96 (B14) vs Downtown United White 4:30pm Sunday, May 15
Location: Pier 40 at Houston Street and West Side Highway
This is going to be a great match, pitting two local and very strong teams in an all-important State Open Cup quarterfinals match. Manhattan PSG 96, coached by Wilson Egidio, is the current Region One Premier League champions, while Downtown United will play in the NERP title game this week in a bid to be accepted into the Region One Premier League next year. Manhattan PSG 96 defeated Downtown United 2-0 at the Manhattan Kickoff Classic in March, but Downtown returned the favor a week later, defeating Manhattan by the same score in the prestigious Annandale Premier Cup title game. This could be the toughest match for Manhattan on the road to finals, with a potential big game versus defending Cup champion Smithtown Arsenal looming in the Cup title match. One interesting wrinkle - if both the MSC Matrix and the MSC PSG 96 win their respective quarterfinals matches this weekend, an all Manhattan semifinal match will occur the following weekend. This is Manhattan PSG 96's fourth straight year of advancing to at least the quarterfinals, where they also reached the semifinals in both 2008 and 2010, losing close matches in both situations.