Cosmos Earn Draw Against Rival Minnesota United
The highly anticipated match could not have started worse for New York. Down to 10 men for almost the entirety of the match, the Cosmos fought hard and played balanced, earning a valuable point after a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United.
The match could not have started worse for the Cosmos. During a rain-soaked evening at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, the Cosmos began sloppy, falling victim to the slippery field. In just the sixth-minute, goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer was shown a straight red card after an ugly challenge on Minnesota’s Daniel Mendes in the box. Minnesota striker Christian Ramirez, who already was leading the league with 12 goals, nailed his 13th by easily beating backup keeper Kyle Zobeck on the subsequent penalty kick.
Minnesota didn’t ease off after the early lead. In the 18th minute Minnesota midfielder Jamie Watson came into possession of a well threaded through ball in the middle of the field. Aware of threat, new keeper Zobeck, artfully cleared the ball, avoiding a dangerous tackle that lead to his predecessor’s dismissal.
Despite the one-man disadvantage, the Comsos grew more comfortable, confident, and balanced as the match progressed. In the 20th minute, Isidro Metapan loan Andres Flores nearly equalized the score. After receiving a well-placed delivery, Flores found himself one on one with United Keeper Matt VanOekel, and to the Salvadoran’s chagrin, VanOekel won the battle.
During the second half, the Cosmos continued their solid form, often making it seem as though it was Minnesota who was playing with 10 men. For over 20 minutes the Cosmos pressed the Minnesota defense, and if not for the superb efforts of VanOekel, the Comsos would have put at two fantastic strikes into the back of the opponent’s net.
In the 74th minute, the Comsos were finally able to earn a reward for their solid second-half play. A clever toe poke by substitute Mads Stokkelien equalized the match, the Norwegian’s fourth goal of the season.
“The guys did very well,” said head coach Giovani Savarese after the match. “We can always improve. There are things we can always do better, but tonight was a good step up to where we need to be.”
After the Stokkelien goal, the Cosmos continued to press, nearly earning goals from Flores and defender Hunter Freeman. Despite the player disadvantage, the Cosmos displayed balance and tenacity during their intense second half surge. Although the point came the hard way, the Cosmos may feel themselves to be unlucky not to have earned all three.
“The important thing was the balance we showed today,” said Savarese. “We were very solid because of the balance we had defensively when we had the ball. The team was patient to find the gaps, and we were very dangerous when we were able to expose them. I think the guys deserved a little bit more tonight.”
The Cosmos hope to build on this hard fought draw when they face Indy Eleven on the road, next Saturday August 30 at 7:30 pm.
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