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BroncoBusters 1 – 8 Greenpoint: Onwards and Upwards

BroncoBusters 1: Caro 28
Greenpoint United 8: Lima 22, 37, Lemos 29, 60, Casillas 66, 83, Saemundsson 71, Marzullo 76

Bronco, NH — “I’ve always hated the second round. Very often, it’s a tricky road fixture. Hopefully our higher seeding, after finishing second place last year, will be to our advantage.”

Club President ZorroCat has stated over and over again that he has never been fond of the second round of the U.S. Open Cup, in that he always finds his club playing on the road against a team of comparable strength. On this night, however, Facundo Lemos broke a 1-1 tie just before the half hour mark, then Greenpoint added six more goals as they went on to romp BroncoBusters 8-1 in New Hampshire to earn their third consecutive berth in the third round.

Ah, but the higher seeding giveth and the higher seeding taketh away. Greenpoint’s reward for winning a less-than-tricky road fixture? A close-to-impossible road fixture against Baksheesh next week. While Greenpoint is celebrating their fifth season in Hattrick, their Californian opponent in round three is celebrating their 30th.

Greenpoint dominated the possession figures all game long on Wednesday night, to the tune of 71% in the first half and 74% in the second half, but found themselves level at 1-1 after 28 minutes. After Matteo Lima opened the scoring in the 22nd, BroncoBusters equalized when Raul Caro rushed past the sluggish Viktor Uharcek.

The match was level for all of 61 seconds; Facundo Lemos burst forward from his left wing position into the center to whip in a curling shot from 15 yards out to put the Growlers back on top. Matteo Lima added his second of the game in the 37th to put the visitors up 3-1 at halftime. It was all Greenpoint in the second half: a second goal from Lemos, two from other academy product Phillip Casillas, and one each from Orn Saemundsson and Trevor Marzullo made this Greenpoint’s highest scoring cup tie against a non-bot in club history, surpassing last year’s stunning 6-2 win over Winter Park in the same round.

Now, the challenge shifts to facing a much stronger team away from home. Greenpoint will travel to Baksheesh’s 61,000 seat Baksheesh Arena next Wednesday and should at least get a good pay day out of the journey. Baksheesh has not lost a competitive fixture since March 25 and are unbeaten in eight.

The silver lining is that Greenpoint will likely be able to use their A-Team on Wednesday; they host bot side Yangon United in the league, at home, on Sunday night.

“Let’s see what happens,” added ZorroCat after the drawing.


Pata Duras 1 – 1 Greenpoint: All Square

Pata Duras 1: Taylor 57
Greenpoint United 1: Lei Qibao 43

BOSTON, MA — “If you told me beforehand we would have taken a point from this road fixture, I would’ve jumped at it,” said club president ZorroCat after Sunday night’s match, adding “but to get the draw in this manner was a little frustrating.”

Daniel Farka and Theodore Eubanks both saw red as Pata Duras ended on nine men, but Rod Taylor’s 57th minute goal canceled out Lei Qibao’s free kick opener, and Greenpoint United settled for a 1-1 draw in their opening match of Season 52’s league campaign.

Farka, the Pata Duras striker, got himself into trouble early, sliding in high on Greenpoint winger Mahavir Sharma and earning a yellow card for his trouble. Sharma could not continue and was replaced by Emmanuel Chiappe. The sides traded chances through much of the first half, including one Duras chance which saw Greenpoint goalkeeper Luc Buhot end up limping.

Greenpoint finally got their break-through just two minutes from time in the first half, as Lei Qibao hit a swerving free kick that beat Duras goalkeeper Fernando Pestana. A minute later, Farka was shown a second yellow card, and Duras would have to mount a second half comeback with ten men.

“I think a big reason why the result is so frustrating is because we had them on the ropes at halftime, but we never found a second goal to put it away,” said Lei after the match.

Pata Duras were level in the 57th minute, as Rod Taylor swerved in, around Lei, the wing back, and beat Buhot near post.

“I’ve got to make that save,” Buhot said.

In the 77th minute, Theodore Eubanks was shown a second yellow card and Duras played the final 13 minutes on nine men, but Greenpoint could not beat Duras’s defense and had to settle for a point.

“I’m satisfied with the effort as a whole,” added ZorroCat, “but our scoring threat has been found lacking against certain teams. Hopefully, bashing the bot next week will revive us.”

Greenpoint United will be in New Hampshire on Wednesday nigh in round two of the U.S. Open Cup against Bronco Busters, then will host bot side Yangon United in the league next weekend.


W. Footscray 1 – 3 Gold Coast: Resolve

West Footscray 1: Hawkes 41
Gold Coast Cyborgs 3: Thursfield 18, Janjula 54, Duy Quang 70

WEST FOOTSCRAY, Victoria — Zachary “Jet Pack” Janjula broke a second half deadlock and Nguyen Duy Quang netted an insurance goal twenty minutes from time as the Gold Coast Cyborgs picked up a crucial road victory in their first ever league match against West Footscray in the Melbourne suburb this afternoon.

Gerry “Thunder” Thursfield opened the scoring for Gold Coast in the 18th minute, but West Footscray equalized just before halftime as Lonnie Hawkes bundled a shot over the line that caused trouble in the Cyborgs’ box.

“I thought they boys did well to forget about the down note the first half ended on,” said coach Pero Perry in the post match presser. “We had a number of chances to extend the lead in the first half and we wasted them, then conceded a stupid goal to bring things level at halftime. I told the guys to just settle down since, as the home team, West Footscray had all of the pressure to perform. Overall, I’m thrilled with the effort I saw over the final 45 minutes.”

Janjula’s winner came moments after Gold Coast suffered a minor confusion event (to be expected from such a young team in a new formation.) A through ball from Noe “No” Nolan down the center of the field found the right winger cutting in front and he buried the shot confidently past West Footscray goalkeeper Jarrod Fisher.

“I just wanted to find a little room between the defenders,” said Janjula, “and I was a little surprised they gave it to me. They were playing their first league game, too. To win on the road when you’re on pretty level terms: that’s big.”

Nguyen Duy Quang found an opening down the right wing in the 70th minute to put the game away for the visiting Cyborgs.

The Cyborgs remain fourth in the series on goal difference, but have the inside track for a third place finish already, since all four bots played against each other thus boosting their early season rankings. Cyborgs return to action and open Nerang Amphitheatre on Wednesday at noon in the cup against Newmarket United, then host the league’s powerhouse Parra Eels at home on Sunday.


Man Cyty 0 – 8 Greenpoint: Homegrown Road Win

Man Cyty 0
Greenpoint United 8: Manuzzi 17, 31, Casillas 32, 68, Lemos 64, 80, Baron 69, 78

MANCHESTER, Alabama — Anything Cyborgs can do, Greenpoint can do better. One day after Gold Coast advanced 6-0 in the cup via three different players with braces, Greenpoint United advanced 8-0 after four different homegrown players scored twice each, including three products of the youth academy. Greenpoint will face another road match in round two next week, in New Hampshire against Bronco Busters. It is Greenpoint’s fourth trip to the second round in as many tries; they have advanced to the third round on two previous occasions, but have never qualified for the fourth.

Greenpoint began the match with a form substitution, giving a start to Lei Qibao to keep the form monkey satisfied, while pulling him after a minute for Christof Vandenherreweghe to keep the former out of card/injury trouble.

“We’ve picked up some nasty injuries in cup ties gone by, especially against the bots,” said club president Zorro Cat. “Playing a 2-5-3 while knowing we’ll need four at the back in the league means we’ve got to keep our defenders out of trouble in some of these ties.”

Chris Manuzzi, who had a hat trick in round one last year (in his first professional appearance,) opened the scoring for the Growlers in the 17th minute after charging through the central defense. Just after the half hour mark, Manuzzi had a second, this time from the left side. Manuzzi now has seven cup goals in just four matches and is one goal shy of the Greenpoint record for goals in cup ties.

But the story of the night would not just be Manuzzi, but a handful of other homegrown talent from the Greenpoint Academy. A minute after Manuzzi had his brace, Phillip Casillas scored his first competitive goal, slipping through the defense on the same side Manuzzi just had to put Greenpoint up 3-0 at the half. Just after the hour mark, Facundo Lemos scored his first competitive goal through the middle. Not to be outdone, Casillas added his second four minutes later to make it 5-0.

Anthony Baron, who has been with the club all of his life, scored twice including one from the penalty spot, to make it 7-0 by the 78th minute, then Lemos picked up Greenpoint’s fourth brace of the night, closing out the scoring at 8-0 in the 80th.

Greenpoint opens their fifth league season (and fourth in V.254) on Sunday night in Boston against Pata Duras, who were relegated from IV last year. Next week in the cup, as mentioned earlier, they travel to New Hampshire to face Bronco Busters on Wednesday night at 7:00 before finally opening newly renovated Monitor Park against Yangon United on the 26th.


Luke’s Legends 0 – 6 Gold Coast: The Right Foot

Luke’s Legends 0
Gold Coast Cyborgs 6: Nolan 10, 28, Woolford 25, 55, Hart 36, 38

ADELAIDE, South Australia — Noe “No” Nolan, Taiaho “The Wolf” Woolford, and Victor “Ace” Hart all scored braces in Gold Coast’s first competitive fixture as the Cyborgs advanced in the Oceanian Cup with a 6-0 win over Luke’s Legends in Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon. With the win, Cyborgs have earned a second round home game against Newmarket United, who have spent only two months in existence themselves.

“We got the early goal we were looking for,” said midfielder Gerry Thursfield, who wore the captain’s armband. “We really put the pedal to the metal in the first half. We got a little lazier in the second, but by that point, we were home free.”

It took just ten minutes for the Cyborgs to score their first competitive goal, as Nolan found room on the right wing to blast a shot past the keeper. In the 25th, Woolford made it 2-0 from the left wing, then Nolan scored again three minutes later to put Gold Coast up 3-0. Luke’s Legends proceeded to concede consecutive penalties in the 35th and 38th minutes, both of which were comfortably put in the back of the net by Victor Hart to give Cyborgs a 5-0 lead at halftime that they would not relinquish. Woolford added his second before the hour mark to complete the scoring.

“I was afraid we’d start off hesitant,” said coach Pero Perry, “after losing twice in Brooklyn to start things off against more established teams, I was worried there would be side effects from that, a fear of going forward. We really needed to get that first goal. Thankfully, it didn’t take that long to do it. From there, we were clear.”

Gold Coast’s reward for their victory is a home match in the second round against Newmarket United from just outside of Auckland, New Zealand. That will also mark opening night for the Nerang Amphitheatre and the Cyborgs hope the home crowd will be raucous.

“We’ve earned a trip to the second round and hopefully our fans can get behind us and will us into the third. It’s a tall order, though,” said Woolford.

Cyborgs will open up league play on Sunday at noon just outside of Melbourne as they face West Footscray F.C.


Morrien Testimonial: Greenpoint 6 – 1 Gold Coast

Greenpoint United 6: Cotta Ramusino 11, Lemos 29, Vandenherreweghe 37, Saemundsson 40, 82, Silver 78
Gold Coast Cyborgs 1: Breakwell 63

BROOKLYN, New York — It was a special occasion at Monitor Park last night and not just because it was Gunter Morrien’s testimonial match: it was also a meeting between ZorroCat Holdings’ two teams, Greenpoint United and Gold Coast Cyborgs. As expected, the home side won handily, 6-1.

Greenpoint shook up their line-up a bit while playing their standard non-league 2-5-3 formation: Christof Vandenherreweghe started on defense paired with Simon Quiniou, while Lei Qibao got the night off. Matteo Lima started in a midfield trio with youth academy products Emmanuel Chiappe and Chris Manuzzi. Anthony Baron and Mahavir Sharma did not appear at all on the wings, handing those jobs to Joffre Silver and Facundo Lemos. Gunter Morrien played 90 up front, along with Orn Saemundsson and Fabrizio Cotta Ramusino.

Gold Coast played with a 3-5-2 formation in an attempt to balance out sector ratings: they played with all three defenders in the center, knowing Greenpoint would attack down the middle with Morrien. Rich “Razor” Reay and Taiaho “The Wolf” Woolford comprised the forward line for the Cyborgs, but they did not get much service.

Even without the usual midfield starters for Greenpoint, the Growlers held the ball for nearly three quarters of the time, and they struck first in under a quarter of an hour, as Cotta Ramusino scored from the right wing. Lemos, Vandenherreweghe, and Saemundsson added others to give the home side a 4-0 advantage at the half.

Morrien, who will turn 39 during the course of this season, could not find a way to get open, his stamina clearly failing him in the second half, as Greenpoint missed chance after chance to extend the lead.

Cyborgs scored a bit of a surprise goal against the run of play just after the hour mark, as midfielder Nguyen Duy Quang, who scored yesterday against The Lost Saxons, struck a shot from a sharp angle that took the Greenpoint defenders by surprise. With only two at the back, Shaun “Snake” Breakwell snuck in and buried the loose ball to make it 4-1.

The Growlers settled play down, however, as Joffre Silver curled in a free kick in the 78th and Orn Saemundsson picked up a brace in the 82nd.

Morrien has played for eight different squads in his career. He was discovered by SSV Brain 07 in 2007 in his native Stuttgart, but was sold within three days to Ultras92, who are no longer in Hattrick. A few months later, he was shipped off to Rosette Rostock, then a month after that to Nygatan Hooligans. After a quick stay there, he was transferred to Atterup F.C. in Denmark, where he spent just over 14 seasons. In December of 2011, Atterup sold him to Barca Real Atletico, six months later he was sold to Vera’s Boys, who then sold him to Greenpoint United in July of 2012.

Morrien scored 130 competitive goals in his career, the final 13 of them were scored in green and grey. Morrien added six more goals in friendlies for Greenpoint.

“He’s a special player with so much experience and I’ve learned so much from him about the craft of scoring goals,” said Greenpoint Academy product Facundo Lemos. “Just being on the same pitch as this guy is a really special feeling. In his day, he really knew how to find the back of the net. It’s invaluable to have a guy with this kind of expertise on your side.”


Friendly Recaps: Season 51 / Week 16

Greenpoint United 1: Chiappe 50
Robu’s FC 0

BROOKLYN, New York — Emmanuel Chiappe’s 50th minute goal after a set piece broke the deadlock and Greenpoint United made it count as the Growlers won a tense End of Season Challenge with Robu’s F.C. 1-0 on Wednesday night.

Greenpoint opted for a 2-5-3 formation, hoping their offense could out-muscle Robu’s counterattack. Unfortunately for the Growlers, Robu’s defense matched the home side punch for punch. Through the first half, Greenpoint had four opportunities on which they could not convert. First, Gert Hardy just missed the net after a cross from the right. Six minutes later, an indirect free kick from 30 yards out caused some havoc in the box, but the defenders cleared their lines well. In the 37th, Robu’s defense pounced on a Greenpoint chance to counter, but their shot was easily saved by Growler keeper Luc Buhot. In the 41st, Gert Hardy had another chance to put Greenpoint up, but fired over the bar.

However, an injury to Robu’s center back Dyquon Leving in the 42nd minute limited the effectiveness of Robu’s shut-down defense in the second half. Still, Greenpoint found their chances lacking. Matteo Lima rattled the crossbar in the 48th minute, then Robu’s defense turned another Greenpoint chance into a counter that was saved by Buhot.

A foul following Buhot’s clearance drew a free kick from 35 yards out and Greenpoint finally got on the board. Lei Qibao’s set piece was fired into the six yard box, where homegrown winger Emmanuel Chiappe banged it home.

“We tried a lot of different things out there tonight,” Chiappe said after the match. “For a while, it seemed like nothing was working against a tough defense. Things opened up a little in the second half and I finally got an open look.”

Chiappe nearly added another six minutes later but missed that as well. Greenpoint was content to play keep-away from that point on, riding out a 1-0 win against a side that could not win the ball back in midfield against Hardy, Lima, and Slawomir Niemczak.

Now that Season 51 is all said and done, Greenpoint finished the year with 23 wins, 2 draws, and 5 losses, by far the best overall record in club history.

After Gunter Morrien’s testimonial on Sunday, Greenpoint will open Season 52 in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup next week in Alabama (or, more likely, a different area where the owner did not select a proper region and Alabama is just the first alphabetically in the drop-down menu) against ManCyty.

Really? ManCyty is the name of the team? That’s just dreadful. I’m gonna go check to see if there’s a Manchester in Alabama… … okay, 26 out of 50 U.S. states have a Manchester and Alabama is not one of them…

Come on.

Grendel United 4: Habberstad 20, Troff 34, Riedlbauer 58, Jacovone 80
Gold Coast Cyborgs 0

BROOKLYN, New York — Gold Coast Cyborgs’ first match in club history resulted in a bit of a clunker, as the visiting Australian side lost 4-0 to Grendel United, my girlfriend’s team, ensuring that I did not sleep on the couch last night.

Grendel held the ball for 86% of the time in the first half and 91% in the second half against the new side, playing together for the first time. Gold Coast’s 5-4-1 pressing formation could not keep the home side off the board, though they did well to stop Grendel’s overwhelming number of chances. Grendel ended the match 4/9 on their opportunities.

“Well, minor victories. They could have put so many more past us with those possession stats,” said head coach Pero Perry. “We’ve got a bot to look forward to in the cup next week, then three horrible weeks against human opponents in the league, before we get a mid-season break against more bots.”

Egil Habberstad opened the scoring in the 20th minute, then Kurt Troff made it 2-0 from the penalty spot in the 34th. Magnus Lennart Riedlbauer and Massimiliano Jacovone added two more in the second half to help Grendel coast to victory.

After playing at Greenpoint in Gunter Morrien’s testimonial on Sunday night (early Monday morning in Australia,) Gold Coast will open Oceania’s Season 40 in the Oceanian Cup against Luke’s Legends in Adelaide.


Greenpoint and Gold Coast to Meet in Gunter Morrien Testimonial

BROOKLYN, New York — As news is starting to trickle in regarding ZorroCat Holdings’ second club, the Gold Coast Cyborgs, which has been assigned a spot in Oceania, Greenpoint United Football Club has announced that forward Gunter Morrien will be retiring before the start of the new season. To give Morrien a proper send-off, Greenpoint has scheduled a testimonial match with the Cyborgs, to be played at Monitor Park on Sunday evening at 7:00 p.m.

“We are very excited at the prospect of welcoming our new associates from Down Under to our stadium for a non-competitive match,” said Greenpoint first team coach Grzegorz Galka. “I can’t think of a better way to give Gunter a nice finish to his career.”

The 38 year old Morrien has seen his skills decline steadily over the last season, but the German has scored 130 goals in his prolific career, including five hat tricks, one of which came last season for Greenpoint at Boise State. In Portugal’s Season 36, Morrien was the top scorer in series VII.355 with 15 goals.


Season 52 State of the Team Address

As Greenpoint United prepares for Season 52, Club President ZorroCat addressed the media yesterday with prepared remarks on the state of the team. His remarks were as follows:

Good evening everybody, thank you so much for coming out. Season 51 was a remarkable year for Greenpoint United Football Club, though I think it goes without saying that we were a little more than lucky over the course of 14 games. We would like to extend our congratulations to Bree Prancing Ponies for winning the division and promoting automatically to Division IV. In three seasons, we were never once competitive against them over six matches; they certainly deserved the title this season. We’ll also be saying goodbye to two bots from the division, Will Play For Beer and Boise State. We wish them the best of luck and hope some new ownership takes over for them sooner rather than later.

Congratulations are also in order for Devil Dolphins and Bluesters, who both won their qualifiers tonight to stay up. And we would like to extend a warm welcome to the three new sides in the series: Pata Duras, who come down from Division IV, Chingachgook’s Warriors from Division VI, and for now it looks like we have another bot in Yangon United.

Back to the matter at hand, however, as I’m here to talk about Greenpoint United. Second place was well beyond our wildest dreams entering last season and I think the best part of it is the higher seeding in the cup. That said, it is wasteful to get a high seed just to crash out of the cup early. We’ve gotten to round three in each of the last two years; this year, we’ll be pushing for our first berth in round four. Anything less, given our higher seeding, would be a disappointment.

As for the league, well, it’s going to be even more competitive this season. As long as we keep the bot in the series, we could end up finishing anywhere between second and seventh; these teams are that close. We ended up on the winning side of so many close games last season, against Devil Dolphins and Bluesters and West Lafayette. We stole three points from Terrapin; that probably won’t happen again. It’s hard to talk about expectations when every game could go either way.

In terms of the personnel, I do not expect us to see any major entries or departures in the club coming up. We’ve got a lot of young guys in the squad that came through our youth system: Lemos, Manuzzi, Chiappe, Casillas. They’ll be getting more playing time as we go on.

Our goals for Season 52, quite simply: get to round four of the cup and avoid relegation. I think that should be more than doable. As for the fans, well, finishing second has probably pushed their expectations a little higher. Hopefully they won’t be too disappointed if our luck runs out.


Better Know: Anthony Baron

Welcome back to “Better Know,” a running feature on Fridays in which I take a fictitious person from the squad and make up a bunch of things about their personal life! This week, it’s winger Anthony Baron, the only man who has worn the prestigious number 10 jersey for Greenpoint United.

I’ve never liked his mustache, but I don’t intend to pay the credits to get rid of it.

Among all 24 players on the squad sheet, only one of them was actually born in Brooklyn. That man is Anthony Baron, who has made 66 appearances for the club over their four seasons. But, his record with the club even dates beyond their playing in Hattrick, and even beyond Greenpoint United. Today, Baron tells the tale of how a small group of athletes banded together, found an owner, and became a professional team:

“There were probably about eight of us; let’s see, there was myself, [Joffre] Silver, B-Dubs [Jack Baumgardt-Wellander], Ken Jones, Philip Zhu, Leslie [Asher], Jacobo [Esperon], and Cookies [Trevor Marzullo]. We all knew each other loosely; I used to work with Phil and Jacobo at a restaurant.

“It was around the middle of February of 2012 when B-Dubs called us all together and said he had read about how there were openings in a league system called Hattrick. Basically, if you had a group of 16 or so guys and found an ownership group, you could enter the USA pyramid system at the bottom level and start playing games professionally.

“So, the next day, we all set about to find players to make up the rest of the squad, while B-Dubs and Cookies started to work on how to find an ownership group. We recruited guys like [Mahavir] Sharma, Jose Solis, Nick Upchurch, Bobby Balivet. God, I haven’t thought about some of these guys in a while, Tracey Christea. A lot of them were really terrible at the sport, but we needed the bodies first.

“By the end of the month, Cookies said he had been talking to the ZorroCat Company, or something, and that they were looking into us. We weren’t really purchased, in so many words, by ZorroCat. What they did was buy one of the teams in the Hattrick system, from California, and brought operations here to Greenpoint. Then, they filled out the roster with us.

“I’ll never forget that one of the first things they did was buy some goalkeeper from Romania to play in our first organized friendly that night. Mihai, or something was his name. And when he arrived, he acted like he owned the place, while all of us had been playing informal games together for weeks and months. We all hated him!

“We played our first game on February 29, Leap Day. I think under 100 people came out to see us [Editor’s Note: It was 59.] We went up 2-0, but then the defenders got a little lax. I scored in the second half, my first professional goal, but we ended up losing 4-3. But, the taste of playing, and for wages, was so sweet. We all knew we wanted to push a little harder.

“A lot of the guys from that first game are gone. Phil doesn’t play anymore, Ken Jones was sold to a team in Italy; so was Leslie but then he found a girl over there and quit playing. Jacobo owns the restaurant we used to work at. There’s four of us left in the squad from the guys that started that first friendly: me, B-Dubs, Cookies, and Silver who had the first goal.

“That first season was such a strange journey, but we’ve come so far now, it’s hard to remember a time when we weren’t Greenpoint United.”