Croatia began their 2011 Copa NYC campaign on June 18th, drawing Sweden on ‘One-Shot Saturday’. Win and you advance. Lose and you go home. Croatia knocked out Sweden in a ten-goal thriller that saw the lead change hand three times. Croatia notched the first goal early in the match before Sweden pulled two back to take the lead. Croatia then grabbed two goals of their own to make it 3-2 at halftime in favor of the Croatians. The teams traded goals in the second half and the match finished 6-4. Both teams played very well together, exhibiting great passing play and chemistry, but in the end Croatia executed their game better.
Sunday Group Qualifying had Croatia playing against Ivory Coast and St. Vincent & Grenadines. Despite playing back-to-back matches, the Ivory Coast was able to compete with Croatia and played out another scoreless game. Fifteen minutes into the match, the Ivory Coast received its second red card of the day and had to collect itself. In the end, both sides couldn’t break the deadlock and penalties were the deciding factor once more. The Ivory Coast kept its perfect record on penalties, and Croatia’s single penalty that hit off the post was the difference on the day.
In the first do-or-die match of Cosmos Copa’s Playoff Sunday, Croatia scored a late goal to put the European side through at the expense of the plucky Caribbean side. Both teams had previously lost to Ivory Coast, so the winner of this match would join the Ivory Coast squad in the next stage. The two teams traded goals in the first half, and they continued their even play in the second. The “Vinci Wave” was dominant in possession, while Croatia used its quick passing and movement to try and score on the counter attack. Croatia nicked the winner late in the match to send the Croatians into rapture and St. Vincent and Grenadines home.
The Cosmos Copa resumes on Saturday, July 9th as Croatia has drawn Mexico, Ivory Coast and last years winners Poland in their group. First game begins at 2:00pm against Ivory Coast at Flushing Meadow Park Fields 8 & 9. Come out and support your club!
NYC Croatia should also be well prepared to face NYC Ivory Coast, as the two teams squared off in qualification. NYC Croatia proved to be a well-oiled machine throughout qualification, defeating Sweden and St. Vincent & the Grenadines and narrowly losing to NYC Ivory Coast on penalties. NYC Croatia are led by brothers Tommy and Kristopher Bistre who control the midfield and create quality chances. The biggest question mark for NYC Croatia will be how they respond to facing the proven talent of NYC Poland and NYC Mexico, and how they prepare for NYC Ivory Coast, having already faced them.