Despite playing well for much of the game, the Kickers ended the Fall season on a disappointing note, falling to Stal Maelic 2-1 on Sunday afternoon in Brooklyn. The Kickers created chances early and often, but always seemed to be at the wrong angle to find the back of the net. A surprise through ball and a quick shot by a Stal forward swerved into the corner, and an unmarked attacker slipped in behind the defense to poke home the second. The Kickers found themselves frustrated and down 2-0 at halftime. The Kickers would pour all their effort forward, eventually finding a goal from Albi Rexha. The final 15 minutes were frantic, with the Kickers creating more chances, the opposing goalie making a few lucky saves, and the referee making a host of confusing calls and no calls, and the Kickers took away no points.
The Reserves blended steel and panache to put a feisty Stal Mielec team in their place, and remain atop the rankings for the winter break. The first half proved frustrating for the Kickers, as only one of the numerous chances were put away. That honor went to Gio LoMonaco, a player who is enjoying his most productive season for the Kickers. Even this goal required no less than three shots from three different players until Gio finally rolled the ball into the net. Finishing aside, the Kickers began building a head of steam with swashbuckling attacks ripping the Stals back line to shreds. In response, Stal began pushing the boundary of legal play, intentionally grabbing players that went past them, slide tackling from behind, and generally turning the game more into a fight than a game. This boiling point came with a particularly violent challenge on Jared Hirschowitz as he was slipped through on goal. Jared ended up with a dislocated thumb and torn ligaments. The Kicker Reserves, growing more and more familiar with these tactics in every coming game, did not shrink from the challenge but without sacrificing quality of play began showed that they would not be bullied. This, better finishing, along with the referee taking more control of the game, lead to a second half decimation of the team. The goal was scored by Jared Lichtarge off of a through ball by first teamer recovering from injury, Diego Reineiro. Wave after wave of attack pressured the same player who injured Jared into another stupid challenge, forcing the referee to show a second yellow. The Kickers pressed their advantage, scoring 3 more unanswered goals, two scored by Michael Kahn and the final goal scored by Dennis Kachintsev. The Kickers Reserves go into the Winter break not only top on points but also with the highest points total of both the north and the south division, second least goals conceded of either division (least in our Southern division) and most goals scored in our division.
For only the second time all season, the Kickers Over-30 Premier were victors 6-2 over Megas Alexnadros. Mike Zaborski charged forward up the wing from his defensive position to slice home the quality finish from the left side of the box in the 5th minute. Megas responded with two easy goals from inside the penalty area near the 6-yard box. Niccoslo Ball took the Megas GK on one-on-one and chipped him for the equalizer to bring the match all even at the break. The second half was all Kickers. David James hit a rocket (50th min) from outside the penalty area that went through the Keepers hands for the go-ahead goal. Later, Ardian scored two goals to give the Kickers a convincing lead and we never looked back.
Manhattan Kickers Legends, needing goals to catch up with league leaders Cosmos, did the job against Banatul with half a dozen goals, though letting one in through a midfield giveaway. Kickers went on the offensive from the whistle but struggled to find a way past the catenaccio defense of Banatul. On their counter-attacks, Banatul with their sole speedy and skillful #15 playmaker threatened and could have snuck ahead if not for safe hands of Ulrich, and alert defending of Dupuy, Jesse, DJ and Jef. Running out of ideas, Kickers resorted to their go-to strategy to get ahead. Wale was brought on. After a few bad touches, Wale eventually figured out where the goal was and scored with oomph around the 35th minute. Five minutes later, Slover on a deep run down the right, would slam in first time a long cross box lobbed into the penalty box for his first goal of the season, and Kickers' second just before half time. With the ice broken, Joe would score, then John, and then a Jesse lobbed header fell to Scotti on the goal-line to skillfully back-heel into goal. The last word/action would come from Joe, who looked up from about 30 yards out to survey the many Kickers players screaming for a cross, ignored them all, and thumped the ball perfectly into the top right 90 for the last touch and goal of the Fall season. Elsewhere, former Kicker Legend Fred Levrat was having the game of his life, leading SC Gjoa to a fantastic 3-1 win over Cozmoz. The result meant Legends went into winter break on the top of the table, leading by points, goal scored and goal difference.