Ledesma Chip Keeps Cosmos Unbeaten on the Road

Image, nycosmos.com

By JAKE NUTTING

imgres-1Emmanuel Ledesma made the most of his first start for the New York Cosmos with a sensational goal, lifting the team to a win over the San Francisco Deltas and into a three-way tie for second place in the North American Soccer League’s Spring Season standings.

“It was a very difficult match,” Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We can still do better. We’re on the right track. What prevailed today was the [team’s] unity.”

The Cosmos (2-1-2, 8 points) and expansion Deltas (1-1-3, 5) met for the first time. The first 45 minutes at Kezar Stadium was full of strong fouls and choppy play from both teams, but lacked quality scoring chances.

New York had the best look on net of the first half when Ledesma sent in a cross in the 35th minute that goalkeeper Romuald Peiser had to poke away to the top of the box where midfielder Javi Márquez waited. Márquez blasted a the rebound on frame, but it was too close to Peiser and he was able to knock it out of danger from the ground.

Márquez had another go at goal in the opening moments of the second half. This time he slipped a low strike between the defense and past Peiser that glanced off the outside of the left post.

San Francisco applied more pressure to pin down the Cosmos, though the Deltas failed to test goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer with a challenging shot. Forward Tommy Heinemann looked to put the Deltas up in the 67th minute with a powerful volley, but his shot didn’t curl enough and sailed just wide of the post.

Minutes after Heinemann’s effort, the Cosmos grabbed the lead through a counter attack. An eight-pass sequence that started with Maurer in the back finished with Márquez feeding Ledesma on the left edge of the box. In stride, the Argentine chipped a shot over Peiser that dipped down to kiss the inside of the far post.

With the win, the Cosmos continued their unbeaten run away from home. They have recorded a shutout in all three and have won two straight road games. Next week, the Cosmos travel to Jacksonville to play the first-place Armada.