Stung: Cosmos suffer deflating loss to Scorpions in Fall opener

IMAGE, NYCOSMOS.COM

UNIONDALE, L.I. – If any team has the New York Cosmos number, it is the San Antonio Scorpions — and they proved that once again on Saturday night.

The Cosmos opened their fall season with a deflating 3-1 loss in front of a sparse crowd of 3,806 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. The three goals allowed against San Antonio match the entire amount allowed throughout the nine-game Spring campaign.

“We just came out flat,” captain Carlos Mendes said after the match. “We are disappointed, it wasn’t good enough, playing at home, and came out a bit flat and they were hungrier than we were.”

The result sinks New York to the bottom of the Fall standings, but still keeps them top three in the combined table.

The Cosmos introduced a few new faces to their regular starting XI, with Hunter Gorskie slotting at centerback for Roversio and Stefan Dimitrov starting in place of Alessandro Noselli. David Diosa returned to the left wing in place of the still injured Diomar Diaz while Nane and Danny Szetela combined in the middle with Marcos Senna still unavailable.

Despite 40 minutes of scoreless soccer, the Cosmos looked ill-prepared for the encounter, with San Antonio taking the offensive footing. By the 41st minute, the visitors found their opening.

Keeper Jimmy Maurer challenged Rafael Castillo in the box and made contact with his marker. Referee Allen Chapman pointed to the spot, and Castillo sunk his penalty kick through the fingertips of a diving Maurer.

Castillo wasn’t done there. The speedy playmaker tested defender Gorskie down the middle of the park, drawing a foul and yellow card on the play. The ensuing spot kick made it’s way past the Cosmos’ wall, hitting the crossbar but ricocheting off the back of Maurer and into the net for a 2-0 lead at halftime.

Hunter Freeman cut that lead in half in the 56th minute, channeling his inner Marcos Senna with a magnificent curler from 25 yards out on a dead ball situation. Despite his heroics, the Scorpions managed to regain their advantage. Midfielder Sainey Touray chipped a gambling Maurer just 12 minutes after the Cosmos goal to make it 3-1.

“It was a good goal that got us back in the game but at the end of the day, it didn’t mean anything because we ended up losing,” Freeman said after the match. “That’s not us out there. When we are successful, that’s not how we play.”

“I definitely should have stayed,” Maurer lamented. “I was out in a bad spot. I tried to jump to get a block, but he got it over me and had a good finish.”

The Cosmos managed a pair of late game opportunities with a Mads Stokkelien header on net and a sailing shot from Danny Szetela, but neither opportunity would truly test the Scorpions keeper.

“We just weren’t ready to play, all of us,” Maurer conceded. “You can make excuses, different things, but we just weren’t good enough. Play like that, especially the first half, it’s going to be a long game.”

New York take that loss on the road as they begin a two week road trip, starting against expansion side Ottawa Fury 7 p.m. Saturday at TD Place Stadium.

  • Pablo

    It was a tough opener, but we’ve got to remember that this is just the start of the Fall season. It’s not time to panic yet. We gotta pick ourselves up and prepare to bounce back in a major way for the next game.

  • Joey

    I guess, the break really didn’t help the Cosmos, as they came out very flat in this one. They also had a new mix of players in there, so you can say the injuries played a role as well. The Cosmos didn’t sign any players during the break, so they will have to stay healthy or hope their bench steps up. The 2014 season isn’t going to be a cakewalk, as the rest of the NASL teams seem to be surging with confidence as the quality of play seems to have improved since last year. Cosmos will really have to step it up a notch from last year, if they want to repeat their performance from a year ago.

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