Cosmos Settle for a Point Against Armada

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By JAKE NUTTING

imgres-1BROOKLYN — An encouraging offensive start to Saturday night’s match against the Jacksonville Armada wasn’t enough to carry the New York Cosmos to their first win at home in the North American Soccer League’s Spring Season. The teams each earned a point in a 1-1 draw in front of 3,605 chilly fans at MCU Park.

“We’re not happy about the result,” said Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese. “We hoped to be able to earn three points today. I think we did enough to find the result that we wanted, but at the end of the day it’s a point. Continuing to improve is important for us.”

The Cosmos (1-1-2, 5 points) looked to pull ahead in the seventh minute. A long ball over the top found an unmarked Walter Restrepo, who raced toward the left side of the six-yard box and fired a shot between the legs of keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell. Center back Mechack Jérôme, though, flew in to clear the ball off the line.

New York’s goal came after an impressive counter attack. The defense cleaned up a threat from the visitors in the 22nd minute and midfielder Andrés Flores received the ball for the Cosmos in the center of the field. He quickly fed it Restrepo at the top of the Jacksonville’s box and the winger drew in defenders before switching it to Javi Márquez on the right. The Spaniard cut inside and caught the keeper flat-footed with a left-footed rifle into the bottom-right corner. The goal was the first allowed by the Armada this season.

After a near-score for Jacksonville (2-0-2, 8) off a header by Kalen Ryden in the 32nd minute, Eugene Starikov probed the goal at the other end with a blast inside the penalty area that Patterson-Sewell stood strong to parry away.

The three shots on target in the opening 45 were more than the Cosmos had recorded in their first three matches combined.

“We were dynamic, we created chances,” said Savarese. “I thought that at home now we showed that we’re a different team. If we’d converted some of the chances we had the results could have been different, but we didn’t.”

Jacksonville found a way back into the match shortly after the hour mark. After denying Zach Steinberger‘s long-range effort in the 66th minute, keeper Jimmy Maurer couldn’t do anything to stop a line drive from midfielder J.C. Banks at the top of the box.

The Armada were forced to continue the rally without Coach Mark Lowry. Lowry was sent to locker room right after the goal for a disagreement with the fourth official.

Substitute Charles Eloundou narrowly missed giving Jacksonville a lead when his low strike from the right side of the box rolled inches wide of the far post in the 74th minute.

The teams traded half chances for the remaining 15 minutes. Attacker Kalif Alhassan managed one more shot on frame for the Cosmos in stoppage time, but Patterson-Sewell smothered the attempt easily. New York is now winless in its first two home matches.

“Every game here at home is going to be important for us to get the three points and today we couldn’t,” said Flores. “So I think we lost two points, even though we had a very good game and had possession of the ball. We need to take advantage of the games here at home and try to get the maximum amount of points”

New York makes it first trip out west next weekend to play the expansion San Francisco Deltas.