Migul Ricketts of the NY Reggae Boyz tackles Joel Lewis (11) of The Soca Ballers during a NY Caribbean Cup Soccer game on Sunday, July 10.
Keith Dawson

New York Caribbean Cup soccer games kicked off on Sunday, July 10 under a cloud cover that suggested a rainy afternoon. And while it did drizzle a sparse moment, the only rain that fell was goals.

Whether the uncertain start of the 2016 25th anniversary season had anything to do with teams getting untracked is probable left to conjecture, but on Sunday afternoon fans witnessed free flowing attacking soccer that is traditionally associated with New York Caribbean Cup soccer.

Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines got things going at the sound of the whistle kicking toward the Flatlands goal. Team Vincy looked a far cry from the team that struggled to defeat the Brooklyn Soca Lions U-23 in their opening day exhibition game.

However, it was Team Panama who struck first nine minutes into the half when Taliba Carrido latched onto a ball down the right side turned inside his marker and left footed the ball home just inside the left post.

A couple minutes later Los Canaleros was celebrating once more when Rogelio Nash beat Vincy goal keeper Kevin Nanton to send his team into a 2-0 lead.

The second goal seemed to unsettle Vincy Heat for a few minutes as they lost their rhythm, and just when they seemed to be regaining their composure Nanton left his line to clear a ball only to see his poor attempt rebound off Taliba Carrido’s face and roll into the goal.

Los Canaleros was flying now and had Vincy Heat on their heels. Just before the half Michael Collis passed a ball to Darren Francis about 25 yards out who rocketed a shot pass the out stretched hands of Michael Ashby. With Team Panama leading 3-1 the whistle sounded to end the half.

As the second half wore on the fighting spirit that has led Vincy to several NY Caribbean Cup championships was beginning to surface. In the tenth minute of the second half Recardo John rose above the Panamanian defense to pull his team closer to levelling the score.

With full time approaching Jamal Niles was a little too aggressive in a tackle in his defensive box that gave referee Chip Reed no alternative but to point to the penalty spot. Up stepped Gary Daniel to bury the shot and pull Team Vincy even at three goals apiece. Seconds later the final whistle sounded with the teams sharing the points.

There was much uncertainty leading into game two. Uncertainty, because Team Grenada had not been playing particularly well to date, and although Team Dominica was winless they showed a lot of fight with each game they played.

That afternoon, however, the Spice Boyz came with their shooting boots polished.

Team Grenada dominated the early exchanges and it was no surprise when Aniel Jones opened the scoring off a free kick just pass the 10-minute mark.

Denron Frederick scored the second goal off a goal mouth scramble. In fact, goalkeeper Arminex Carbon did well to block the first two shots on goal but was out of position for the Frederick shot.

Team Dominica was in complete retreat now with very few forays pass the half line. Goal number three came from another goal front melee, however, this time Brian Andrew’s shot to the right roof of the goal gave Carbon no chance.

Goal number four for the Spice Boyz was the result of pure carelessness from goalkeeper Arminex Carbon. Carbon’s poor kick off fell at the feet Raymond Alleyne who dribbled in and easily beat the advancing Carbon.

Team Dominica defended stoutly in the second stanza and you really could not fault the defense for goal number five. As the ball floated over the six yard box from a corner, a couple of Dominican defenders collided as they converged to clear the ball only to see the ball take an unusual bounce off Dervon Lourent and slide into the goal.

Minutes later, Aniel Jones sealed the scoring by running onto a loose ball and driving a scorcher pass Carbon.

Twelve goals in two games had fans wondering what was to come in the feature between the defending champions Team Jamaica and Team Trinidad and Tobago.

From the opening whistle, the Soca Ballers showed they meant business with their playoff future on the line having lost to Team Grenada and a heart breaking loss to team Guyana last Sunday.

The Soca Ballers matched the NY Reggae Boyz pass-for-pass as the half closed with the scores locked at zero.

The NY Reggae Boyz started the second stanza kicking toward the Egan Street goal. In the eighth minute Andre McFarlane dribbled down the right side, crossed the ball through the middle for Romario Campbell strike first time for a Jamaica lead.

Shortly after Romario Campbell doubled Team Jamaica’s lead when he collected a ball from Jermaine Hue drifted left to clear his defender and took a left footed shot to beat Marcus Maurice.

Following the Campbell goal, the Soca Ballers came close twice to pulling a goal back but for the brilliance of Devon Haughton in goal.

Miguel Ricketts, one of the new faces with Team Jamaica this year, increased the Jamaica lead with time running down when he converted on a pass from Andre McFarlane.

Games, Sunday, July 17, 2016

1:30 pm – Team STL vs Brooklyn Soca Lions U-23

3:30 pm – Team Guyana vs Team Antigua & Barbuda

5:30 pm – Team St. Vincent & the Grenadines vs Team Haiti

Roland Deleon (#14) of Panama in control of the ball while playing against Team St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Keith Dawson

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