International Friendly: Cosmos vs. Al-Hilal FC • Latino Sports

Soccer

International Friendly: Cosmos vs. Al-Hilal FC

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia – On Saturday night in Riyadh, the defending NASL Champions New York Cosmos played to a socreless draw against the reigning champions of the Saudi Professional League, Al-Hilal FC.

“It was a good game against a very good team,” said Cosmos defender, David Ochieng. “We are thankful to come and play Al-Hilal.”

New York’s first chance to open the score came in the 8th minute when defender, Ryan Richter, found space on the right wing, crossing to midfielder, Andrés Flores, who curled the ball on top of the net. Richter continued to be a presence in the attack, sending a shot just wide of the net in the 27th minute.

The visitors defended well, keeping Al-Hilal from finding the target. The Cosmos back line and goalkeeper, Brian Holt, successfully averted the occasional danger.

A tame second half saw the ball mostly in midfield, until Al-Hilal tested Holt in the 72nd minute. The Cosmos keeper came through with a big save, aided by defender, Dejan Jaković, who cleared the ball from the box.

The game picked up pace after midfielder, Salvatore Barone, made his Cosmos debut, coming on as a second half sub for defender, Ayoze. Barone took no time at all to get in the game, giving forward, Irvin Herrera, a great opportunity in front of the net. New York was denied by Al-Hilal’s goalkeeper, who rerouted the ball to a corner.

The Cosmos spent more time in the opponent’s box late in the game and had a stoppage- time attempt by Flores that went wide, keeping the historic match goalless. Attending fans, however, set the mood for a good performance from the New York team.

“The atmosphere at the stadium was great,” said Cosmos midfielder, Juan Guerra. “It was an honor to come all the way from America to play [in Riyadh]. We felt very welcome,” he added. The team will return to MCU Park on Saturday, May 27 at 7:00 pm.

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