Each week in the Atlanta Caribbean Division seems to bring a unique character not only with the results but the circumstances of the competition. It’s what makes this division special in the United Premier Soccer League (UPSL). This week was no different when again, the unexpected came in multiples. Let’s get started with the re-cap on the action on the weekend.
Forest Rovers FC vs Atlanta Generals FC
This was one of the most anticipated matches of the week because of the recent form of Generals and the position of Rovers who were on the verge of confirming at least a playoff place with possible victory today. But the circumstances of the match and the outcome were a terrible let down.
Rovers quite literally didn’t show up for this match and the encounter degenerated into a farce much to the chagrin of divisional officials, the fans who came to watch and surely the management staff of Rovers. Rovers only managed to start the game with 8 players with an additional late arrival giving them a total of 9 players to contest this match. Club manager, Eddie Alvarado was forced to step in as goalkeeper though late in the match he earned a red card for a challenge coming in on his goal. A couple of other Rovers players were not playing physically at a 100% so this was always going to be a long afternoon for them.
As expected, a resurgent Atlanta Generals squad was in no charitable mood as they took full advantage of the numerical advantage and, to make a long story short, ran away with a 10-1 victory on the day. The loss by Rovers still keeps them in 2nd at the moment, but with only one game to play and now their goal difference also in shambles. With teams close behind them in the league with games in hand, Rovers no longer have destiny in their own hands to secure a playoff spot or have a chance at the title. This was a disastrous result for Rovers.
Goal scorers for Generals were Adama Keita (2), Lamin Mohamed (2), Lamin Ceesay (1), Bosco Hakuzima (1), Alhadji Tambadu (1), Machop Chol (1), Dauda Sanoe (1) and Innocent Gayado (1). The scorer for Rovers was Martin Lugo who has been a bright spot for the Rovers all season.
Atlanta Generals FC on the other hand have an outside chance at a playoff spot with the victory and 2 games to play in the regular season. It’s still all to play for, for both clubs in their remaining games.
FC Stone Mountain vs Honduras 5 Estrellas
The hottest team in the league, Honduras 5 Estrellas vaulted themselves into 1st place with a resounding 7-0 victory Sunday over FC Stone Mountain, helped by the fact that former league leaders, Forest Rovers loss with co-contenders FC Yardaz also losing and Club ATLetic dropping points in their efforts to challenge Honduras for honors.
The Granites of Stone Mountain have the foundation to become a great club but they are not there yet. Some of their naivety of play showed against a seasoned team like 5 Estrellas and mistakes were pounced on for some soft goals. For the Granites, the remaining game they have will be preparation for the Fall season as off-season prep will be critical for them.
Still, only 4 points separate the top 5 clubs in the league with several teams possessing critical games in hand. The final few weeks will show which teams have the metal to challenge for post-season play and\or gain the league title.
Goal scorers for Honduras were, Kevin López (3), Brayan Rodríguez (2) and Victor Cortez (2) Man-of-the-Match was Ángel Bonilla of Honduras 5 Stars.
FC Yardaz vs VaHi ATLetic FC
FC Yardaz’s toothless early season form returned in tragic ways as they created little more than flashes of individual skill while VaHi ATLetic gave Yardaz a schooling on how to play as a team. VaHi dominated possession and looked dangerous every time they moved forward betraying their league position with an inspiring performance that sees them lifted off the floor of the league table with a 3-1 victory over Yardaz.
Goals scorers for VaHi were Igli Mina (2) and Rushit Patel (1). The scorer for FC Yardaz was Desmond Hector.
The loss for Yardaz means the recent good results that vaulted them into the title and playoff race has stalled and could have done ill-reputable damage to their hope for honors. For any hope at all, they will need to win their remaining 2 matches and hope that teams above them drop points.
VaHi ATLetic are in an improved position and while any hope for post-season play is a distant dream, they have 4 games in hand to possibly pull the club up to a respectable position in the league by the end of the Spring season.
Club ATLetic vs Seas Jamaica United FC
The final game of the day was the undisputed best match as these two teams faced each other. Seas are in a horrible run of form gaining only 1 point from the last 3 games while Club remain poised to seriously challenge for honors this season with a victory on the day.
The game started with a frenetic pace as both clubs looked to get something from the early running. An even match developed with these highly skilled teams trading chances back and forth with a high energy display. Seas were first to get on the scoreboard with a well taken goal on a mini-break midway through the 1st half and that remained the score going into the halftime break. Unlike in recent matches, the Seas defense seemed organized and solid which complemented their attacking prowess early on.
The 2nd half started much as the 1st half ended but then a turning point to the match occurred when Seas gifted VaHi a rather silly own-goal when a Seas defender made contact with the ball in an attempt to clear, but only succeeded in taking the ball from the grasp of his keeper, who was well positioned and calling for the ball, and bounced the ball into the back of his own net.
This took away the initiative for Seas and changed the complexion of the match and VaHi took full advantage subsequently scoring an addition 2 goals in the half, first by a strike from Wilfred Tchoupa then a third from Eddie Robinson Jr IV to lead 3-1 with just over 10 minutes to play.
With the match dying for Seas and VaHi looking as sure winners, the match stuttered as VaHi employed tactics to kill off the final minutes of the match but it seemed to help Seas reset and allowed for the referee to add critical minutes of stoppage time. Seas then turned on a final burst of attacks to score 2 goals in the space of 5 minutes with one goal coming deep in stoppage time.
Seas almost snagged victory and all 3 points when a last second attack forward ended with an open net for an onrushing unmarked Seas player only for the cross to be inches too far in front of him to provide the easy tap. The final whistle would blow almost immediately after that incident and the game would end all square at 3-3.
While a very entertaining and exciting game for any neutrals looking on, it would not be a result that either club would have wanted (This one is a definite “must see on MyCujoo). Seas are eliminated from post season play with this loss and Club ATLEtic have made it more difficult for their chances by snatching a draw from the jaws of victory with the result. But with 11 points and a whopping 3 games in hand, there chances are still good for post season play and an outside chance at a league title pending other league results in the balance of the season.
KSA PRO U19 and KSA Pro-Profile were both in competitions outside the UPSL. Make up dates will be announced soon.