BY CHRISTIAN ARAOS
In a game that produced little chances, the New York Cosmos were the only ones who converted on theirs, defeating Minnesota United 1-0 Saturday night at James M. Shuart Stadium in front of 6,081 fans
The victory gives the Cosmos sold possession of first place in the NASL table.
Sebastian Guenzatti scored the game’s lone goal in the 78th minute, heading in Hunter Freeman’s cross into the bottom left corner. Freeman beat a defender, made a run towards the right byline and hit a driven cross for Guenzatti to redirect home.
Freeman was sent off minutes later for a two footed challenge on Miguel Ibarra but the Cosmos held on to extend their unbeaten streak to four games.
The Cosmos are undefeated in their four home games this season and have assumed the top spot in the league standings with 12 points. They lead the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Carolina Railhawks by one point. The Fort Lauderdale Strikers, at ten points, can pass the Cosmos with a win tomorrow against FC Edmonton.
Saturday’s match produced little in chances with each team cancelling each other out in the midfield. The Cosmos’ best opportunity in the first came with Hunter Gorskie attacking from left back and putting his shot into the side netting. Minnesota United also struggled to generate chances with their best chance of the half coming in the 16th minute when Pablo Campos’ shot was blocked by a sliding Roversio.
After Freeman’s red card, United pressed the Cosmos defense leading to a few moments of doubt – particularly in the 82nd minute when Gorskie cleared a shot off the line after Kyle Reynish failed to secure a cross from the left wing.
Minutes later, Reynish’s timidness almost cost the Cosmos as another cross right by his goal was headed wide by Aaron Pitchkolan. Pitchkolan was unmarked in the center of the six yard box but his diving, glancing header went just wide of the post to Reynish’s left.
The Strikers and Cosmos will play next Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium with first place in the NASL still up for grabs. Both teams met in the Fall Championship opener with the Cosmos stealing a 2-1 win in extra time at Hofstra.