Cosmos Bounced Out of Open Cup

US Open Cup logo

By JAKE NUTTING

Cosmos logoOne and done. That’s the New York Cosmos in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup after Wednesday night’s crushing 3-2 loss to Reading United of the Premier Development League.

In recent years, the Cosmos advanced to the fifth round of the tournament only to be knocked out by Major League Soccer teams. That was not the case this time as New York fell to a club from the fourth tier of United States soccer.

Now the Cosmos, after rallying to win a game in the North American Soccer League on Sunday, then boarding a bus for a three-hour ride to Reading, Pa., will embark on what can only be described as a fanciful trip to Saudi Arabia to play an exhibition match. In the middle of the NASL’s Spring Season.

New York’s night started well as Kalif Alhassan bagged his first goal for the team with a confident left-footed strike in the 12th minute. Things quickly deteriorated for the two-time NASL defending champion as the first half came to a close.

Reading found a way back into the match when Darius Barnes slipped on the turf while attempting to close down Paul Maire in the 39th minute. Barnes hitting the floor allowed Maries to streak unimpeded from the right touchline into New York’s box and blast the ball past Jimmy Maurer.

Reading scored two more in quick succession to put the Cosmos in a deep hole. Hugo Del Hommelle split New York’s center backs with a chip to Marco Micaletto, who promptly scored in the 42nd minute. Three minutes later, David Ochieng was careless in his defensive third and had the ball stripped from behind by Frantzdy Pierrot for an easy finish.

Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese took off Ochieng and the veteran Carlos Mendes for Ayoze and Dejan Jakovic at halftime to help stem the bleeding at the back. The changes worked as Reading failed to find another goal, but goals didn’t come easily for New York either.

Danny Szetela managed to cut the deficit in half just past the hour mark with a powerful header off a cross from Alhassan.

The Cosmos threw everything they had at Reading to keep their Open Cup hopes alive, but the home team wouldn’t break. Reading’s defense and keeper Benjamin Beaury made multiple last-ditch clearances and tackles to hold the Cosmos at bay, including a deflection on Walter Restrepo‘s shot to the bottom-left corner that narrowly missed in the dying minutes.

Where do the Cosmos go from here? Well, to Saudi Arabia, of course.