Cosmos’ Maurer Gives Best Performance of Year in Minnesota Win

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by JAKE NUTTING

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – Jimmy Maurer picked an excellent time to have his best performance of the year.

His heroics in the second half  on Saturday night allowed the New York Cosmos to survive a late barrage and ride out a 1-0 win over the potent Minnesota United FC. In Maurer’s eyes, Saturday’s match was just his way of paying back his teammates for keeping the Fort Lauderdale Strikers out of his end of the field entirely in last week’s draw.

“The guys did such an amazing [last week] that I wasn’t called upon,” said Maurer. “They put the work in that night, and tonight it was my turn to step up and make some plays for the team.”

Maurer stepped up — and then some — against Minnesota. Even David Diosa, who tallied the winning goal in the first half with a sensational volley, had to bow down to the veteran netminder after he finished with six saves on the night.

“For me, [Jimmy] was player of the match,” said Diosa.”He’s saved us a lot. He’s always big when we need him and he’s a great goalkeeper.”

Diosa’s admiration for Maurer is well placed. With Minnesota going all out for an equalizer in the final 15 minutes, the Cosmos needed the keeper to rise to the occasion with two superb saves in order to hang on to their one-goal advantage.

After a subdued night, the league’s leading scorer Christian Ramirez fired a powerful half volley from just inside the box that required a fingertip save from Maurer in the 75th minute. Ramirez earned an even better opportunity six minutes later, but Maurer was up for the challenge again and denied the forward’s close-range blast.

“He made incredible saves today that were crucial for us,” said Cosmos Head Coach Gio Savarese. “It was a collective effort but also Jimmy definitely had a tremendous match tonight.”I think it was one of his top performances because I think he made crucial saves. In some games you make the save that keeps you in the game, but he made two or three that I thought were quality, quality saves.”

The glowing remarks from Savarese show how quickly Maurer appears to have remedied his form after hitting a rough patch in the dog days of summer.

“It’s been an up and down year, but these last few weeks have been good,” said the keeper. “Training’s been good, and that’s where it starts. I’ve just got to keep it rolling now.”

A few costly errors in the club’s U.S. Open Cup exit in June led to Maurer being benched in favor of Brian Holt who started three of the first five games this Fall.

Maurer’s reclamation of the starting role got off to an unfortunate start as the Cosmos fell to FC Edmonton 2-1 on July 27. Since that match, though, the Cosmos have gone unbeaten in their last eight outings to take hold of the top spot in the standings, with Maurer coming up with key saves along the way.

“It can be the smallest of margins that change games, and that’s why throughout the whole season you’ve got to try to stay calm, stay motivated and just keep pushing, whether you’ve lost or won,” Maurer said of the turnaround. “That’s the kinda winning streak we’ve had. We’ve been very good about getting back to work. We’re not getting ahead of ourselves.”

Considering they lead the league with 45 goals, the Cosmos spend plenty of time in the spotlight for their attack. With three straight shutouts, and 11 for the year in total, Maurer and the rest of the team have more than pulled their weight defensively as well.

“We always talk about the foundation is always keeping a zero in the back with the quality we have on the pitch, front to back, we’re always going to create chances,” said Maurer. “So that’s where it starts, not giving up goals. We’ve always talked about it, but at the end of the day it’s just everyone putting the work in, top to bottom.”