Cosmos Kick Off NASL Season With A Victory • Latino Sports

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Cosmos Kick Off NASL Season With A Victory

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NEW YORK – On Saturday night at MCU Park, the New York Cosmos played a thriller of a Fall Season opener and defeated Miami FC by a final score of 3-1.

“For us, it was important just to win this game,” said Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director, Giovanni Savarese. “I think the most important part was how aggressive we were to pressure to win important balls, and I think that’s how the third goal came.”

The Cosmos began with a third minute set piece, as Eugene Starikov earned his team the first corner of the game by testing Miami FC goalkeeper, Daniel Vega, at the near post. New York followed up with a brilliantly orchestrated combination in the 16th minute, resulting in a right-footed effort by Pablo Vranjicán that was saved by Vega.

Miami’s Stéfano Pinho tested the Cosmos back line time and again, but David Ochieng and Dejan Jaković did well to stop him in his tracks. An eager Vincenzo Rennella saw a shot blocked by Jaković in the 18th minute.

A rather tame game took on a more dramatic character in the 19th minute when referee, Ramy Touchan, sent off Emmanuel Ledesma following the midfielder’s collision with Hunter Freeman. The 24th minute evened the playing field, as both teams were down to ten men after a similar challenge.

Ironically, Freeman was issued the red card after colliding with Starikov. Unshaken by the incident, the Cosmos forward continued to make his mark, sending a 29th minute header from the center of the box off of the right post.

Cosmos goalkeeper, Jimmy Maurer, was called into action in the 32nd minute, going low to deny Pinho at the near post. Miami were on the prowl soon after, and were again met by Maurer, who got a one-handed punch to a free kick.

Maintaining control of the game was no challenge for New York, who continued to look confident when in possession. A windy second half didn’t affect the hosts’ passing ability, as the Cosmos continued pushing forward in the final third. Andrés Flores had a good chance in the 61st minute, earning a corner kick with his near post attempt.

The referee made his presence known again in the 64th minute, as the Cosmos earned a penalty after Kwadwo Poku’s foul on Ryan Richter. The subbed-in, Ayoze sent the spot kick flying off the crossbar, and Eric Calvillo notched in the rebound for his second goal of the season.

Things briefly turned sour for the hosts in the 69th minute, as an onrushing Poku netted in a close-range equalizer past Maurer. New York answered with a 71st minute header by Starikov, but Vega positioned himself well for the catch.

Eight minutes later, Calvillo beat Richie Ryan to bag his brace, firing into the net from outside the area and giving the Cosmos the lead in the 79th minute. The subbed-in, Kobi Moyal, had the assist in his NASL debut. Moyal opened his account for the club in the last minute of regulation time, going one on one against the keeper to give the Cosmos a 3-1 victory in front of 5,416 cheering fans.

Cosmos forward, Lucky Mkosana, gave his team even more reason to celebrate, coming on in the 87th minute to play his first minutes after returning to the club.

There’s no doubt that Savarese’s calm and collected approach influenced the result. “I didn’t think about [Ledesma’s red card],” said Savarese. “I just thought of what we needed to do in the moment. In the second half, we raised the level and pressured in the right moments.”

Eric Calvillo’s two goals earned him his first Emirates Man of the Match honors this year, as the Cosmos took three points against the Spring Season Champions.

The Cosmos will be on the road against the San Francisco Deltas on Saturday, August 5 at 8:00 pm. New York will then visit FC Edmonton on Friday, August 11 at 9:00 pm. The team returns to MCU Park to face Indy Eleven on Saturday, August 19 at 7:30 pm.

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