Cosmos Grind Out 2-0 Win in Miami

Danny Szetela, Darius Barnes, Stefano Pinho, IMAGE, NASL

By JAKE NUTTING

NY.Cosmos.Logo.OfficialThe New York Cosmos were under fire for much of Saturday’s rematch at Miami FC. Still, Giovanni Savarese‘s team withstood the pressure, thanks in large part to eight saves from Jimmy Maurer, and battled to a 2-0 victory, their first win in the 2017 North American Soccer League Spring Season.

Eugene Starikov, making is first start of the year, provided an encouraging moment for the Cosmos in the 8th minute. Andrés Flores bombed down the right side and delivered a cross to the center of the box for Starikov, whose header was denied by a diving Daniel Vega. The sequence was New York’s first attempt on target of the year.

Despite the promising start, the Cosmos appeared to quickly slip back into their offensive rut. Miami’s attack began to assert itself as the half wore on and headed into the break with 11 shots compared to 1 for New York.

Miami’s first scoring chance in the 18th minute was denied by sturdy goalkeeping from Maurer. The keeper pushed a dangerous cross to the top of the box where Calvin Rezende was waiting to blast it on goal, but Maurer recovered to parry the low shot out for a corner. Rezende had another go at goal 20 minutes later when he poked a shot through a crowd of defenders that rolled straight to Maurer.

Maurer did get an assist from the post to keep Miami off the board five minutes before the break. Vincenzo Renella whipped a ball from the right flank toward the near post and Stefano Pinho beat his defender to the service and blasted it past Maurer but straight into the post.

The home team kept the pressure on New York’s goal in the opening seconds of the second half. Renella one-timed a forceful shot to that Maurer stretched out to knock away.

Robert Kcira looked to break the deadlock with a long-range strike 14 minutes later and was stymied by another save from Maurer. The rebound spilled into the path of Kwadwo Poku, but the attacker’s effort was kept out of goal by the post.

The Cosmos nicked a goal against the run of play a few minutes later thanks to the distribution of substitute Ryan Richter. Shortly after entering the match for Richard Menjivar, Richter sent a pin-point cross from the right side for Danny Szetela, who laid out to drive the ball across the line with his head and give the Cosmos their first goal in 238 minutes this season.

A counter attack opportunity nearly gave Miami a chance at an equalizer in the 69th minute, though a heads up collaboration from Maurer and center back Dejan Jakovic nullified the sequence. Pinho seemed to have a free run into the box until Maurer raced out to disrupt his run, giving Jakovic time to swoop in and shut Pinho down.

Maurer kept the lead intact again three minutes later as he came up with a point-blank stop on Dylan Mares inside the six-yard box.

New York’s second of the night came deep into stoppage time after a late challenge from Miami’s Hunter Freeman on winger Walter Restrepo inside the box drew a whistle. The captain Ayoze made easy work of the penalty conversion.

The win gives the Cosmos something positive to build on as they sit out next week’s NASL action.