On a brisk Saturday in early April, the Manhattan Kickers Reserves stepped out onto an unforgiving artificial pitch to face off against a monster of the amateur leagues: Lansdowne Bhoys. Before the match, expectations were low; players joked with one another about the near-certainty of defeat. Undoubtedly, this attitude took lots of the pressure off. When the game got underway, the Kickers showed excellent promise, playing in tight groups, defending confidently, and creating two brilliant chances. As one would expect from the team at the top of the league, Lansdowne Bhoys fought back through frustration. Despite some obvious infighting, they, too, were able to string some passes together, often showing fluidity without any end product. Lansdowne Bhoys forced the Kickers’ new keeper into a couple reasonably comfortable saves, but never came too close to scoring, baring a fingertip nail-biter that had everyone on the Kickers side rooted. Things went on like this for a while, which only created more despondency with the Lansdowne Bhoys. When Dennis and Fabrizio combined down the right-hand side to expose some lackadaisical defending, the inevitable seemed to be unfolding: a disciplined opponent exploited Lansdowne Bhoys’ overconfidence to take a well-deserved lead. Buoyed by Fabrizio’s wonderful chip, the Kickers fought on until half time, slightly stretched with only two subs on the bench— Lansdowne Bhoys had close to six. The jokes about eventual collapsed continued during the half-time team talk and likely prevented any breakdown in concentration following the stoppage. Lansdowne Bhoys put on two or three fresh players and immediately came out with purpose. The Kickers, with luck on their side, were able to resist one attack after another, while also occasionally threating the Lansdowne Bhoys’ laissaze-faire defense. Mentally exhausted, the Kickers failed to capitalize on any of these lapses. When the Lansdowne Bhoys finally got their goal, following an errant pass from the Kickers’ midfield, the Kickers’ priority shifted from stealing a wonder win to eking out a satisfying point against an exceptional foe. Kicker's goalie, the game’s MVP, picked up a couple extra saves, while the Kickers’ defense made many admirable, last-ditch challenges. It should be said, too, that Lansdowne Bhoys lacked the resolve of a truly great team, and allowed uncertainty and infighting to undo any hope of completing the comeback. In the end, a 1-1 score line flattered neither side and should be a building block for more positive results in the future.
Despite creating numerous chances in the second half, it was a lack of finishing, absence of enthusiasm, and an insurmountable halftime deficit that kept the Kickers from keeping the game vs. Lansdowne Bhoys close. Ryan Katzfey made a few crucial saves in the first half that kept the game from getting ugly earlier than it did, and the attacking players on Lansdowne Bhoys had their way with the Kickers defense for the majority of the game. The Kickers fell 8-1 to the reigning US Open Cup champions, the lone goal scored from a Brian Morris counter attack that sprung Kevin Kretschmer alone on goal.
After going down 1-nil early against the CPR Old Bhoys, the quality of the Kickers Premier demonstrated why we are table leaders. In the 15th minute Filip Loncar found space behind the CPR defense, and finished the volley served up by David Reischfield for the equalizer. A few minutes later, the combination of Fadjol to Nick Bill to Ardian lead to the sweet finish and the go ahead goal. In the second half, Nick would find Ardian again and with some deft movement around the CPR keeper, Ardian slotted it away we had some breathing room. With the Kickers defense stepping it up and some point-blank saves by FitzGerald, the lead was secure. Alex Petrovic would get two more (70th & 80th minutes) to comfortably put this one out of reach.
The Kickers Over-30 Legends beat Eintracht 10-0, who only had only 9 players. Good on Eintracht for playing the game and not forfeiting.