3 PLAYERS THAT IMPRESSED FROM THE FIRST DAY OF QUALIFYING
Chris Bayon enjoying his first taste of Cosmos Copa
Steve Nyarady (NYC Spain) - NYC Spain were one of the pleasant surprises of Day 1 of the Qualifying Tournament. They played a nice brand of attacking soccer with intricate passing and build up play. As the full Spanish national team has shown, this tiki-taka style of soccer is more effective with a lethal striker to put the goals away. This is where Steve Nyarady enters the picture for NYC Spain.
Nyarady benefited from the slightly amended Cosmos Copa heritage rules for 2012. For the first year ever, teams are allowed to apply for an exemption for players who do not meet our stirct heritage rules but that are instead representatives of the country's community in New York. Steve Nyarady fits this bill exactly. He has a Spanish wife and is on the board of C.D. Iberia, one of the region's oldest Spanish soccer teams, and is a big fan of Spainsh football.
After gaining exemption status for the 2012 tournament, Nyarady justified his selection by hitting a remarkable four goals on the first day of qualifying. In Spain's first match against Egypt, Nyarady was unplayable. He opened the scoring after the tenth minute and didn't look back. After twenty minutes, he had completed his hat trick and made a sensational Cosmos Copa debut.
Nyarady followed up his hat trick against Egypt with the only goal in Spain's next game against their rivals, Portugal. It was a pure poacher's goal, following up his teammates shot after the keeper had spilled the ball into his path. Nyarady's four goals makes him top scorer after day 1 of the qualifying tournament and an early favorite for the golden boot.
Chris Bayon (NYC USA) - There was a lot of intrigue around this year's NYC USA team heading into the first day of qualifying. As we stated in our group 4 preview, NYC USA should theoretically be the best team in every year's tournament however past year's incarnations haven't put it all together for various reasons. This year, team president, Pat White, has put in a lot of man hours to get the top talent in the area to suit up for NYC's red, white and blue. Despite a very limited body of work to judge them on (USA only played on game on day 1) it seems that White has uncovered more than a few gems this year.
One of the best players that Pat White has recruited for his team this year is Chris Bayon. In USA's match against NYC Kosova, Bayon, a former standout player at Gettysburg College, was a constant menace and his three goals helped propel USA to a 5-0 win. He beat the offside trap and finished coolly from 18 yards to score his team's second goal. Then Bayon, who plays for the Cosmopolitan Soccer League's Barnstonworth Rovers, added two simple goals at the end of the match to earn his hat trick.
NYC USA finishes out their qualifying campaign with three difficult games on Sunday July 24th. Can Bayon and the rest of his teammates keep up their good form and qualify out of a very competitive group 4?
Kevin Riveros (NYC Bolivia) - There were a lot of standout players in the first day of Cosmos Copa. The Bistre brothers bossed the field for the impressive Croatia. Jeff Matteo sprayed the ball around elegantly, per usual, for NYC Italy. Dario Cabañas was a rock in goal for NYC Paraguay. Zohair Ghenania was his usual elegant self in the playmaking role for NYC France. Mathias Jorge was the driving force for his Uruguay team while NYC Argentina had mulitple guys step up including Maximiliano Garcia. The whole NYC Afghanistan side had a great day as they were impressive in defense and attack.
However, because of his two goal performane on Sunday, Kevin Riveros, the young striker from NYC Bolivia, gets our nod here. Riveros scored two goals in his team's one-sided 6-1 victory over NYC Egypt. The first goal was particulary impressive as he brought down a long clearance from his goal keeper, took two touches and then beat the Egyptian keeper at his near post. It was a simple yet extremely and elegant and difficult goal. Riveros then went on to double his goal count in the second half for Bolivia. Riveros had an impressive second game against NYC Italy as well. Italy's defense was at it's imperious best but Riveros was a constant thorn in their side with his quick and intelligent runs. He displayed what can be best described as sneakiness out there in his ability to loose his markers and get on the end of his teammate's passes.
We look forward to seeing who'll impress us on Day 2. Games start at 8:00AM on Randall's Island. Full schedule at cosmoscopa.com/tournament