Coming into their match Saturday night, the New York Cosmos were certain of two things that were critical to them. The first was that FC Edmonton was the one team that kept that in check in 2013, particularly when they played spoiler at Schuart Stadium as they were about to clinch the 2013 Fall NASL championship. The second thing was that the Cosmos were fully aware that Minnesota FC had already won their match earlier in the day and that a victory against FC Edmonton was paramount to stay level with them at the top of the NASL table.
In front of an advertised record turnout at Clarke Stadium of 4,399, the Cosmos and the Eddies played a tight and scrappy defensive battle. However when it came to possession the Cosmos were stingy with this and maintained the edge on possession through out the match (56% vs 44%). In last week’s match against the Atlanta Silverbacks, Sebastian Guenzatti floated a nice cross to Mads Stokkelien for the fourth goal of the match. Today it was payback time. After yellow cards were issued to Ritchie Jones of FC Edmonton and Diomoar Diaz of the Cosmos, the tempo of the match was accelerated. Ayoze had already been bumped around on several plays but after earning a throw in, he would find Mads Stokkelien along the left side of the pitch with a nice lob pass. Stokkelien brilliantly created some space, turned and fired a pass towards the center of the box that found Guenzatti. Guenzatti managed to get some leather on it for a soft tap into past the goal tender that would stand as the only goal of the match.
The match would continue as a defensive battle the rest of the way. FC Edmonton only managed two clean shots on goal, one of which was a tough shot right in front of Cosmos goal keeper Jimmy Maurer which he confidently saved to preserve his second consecutive clean sheet of the season. For those of you keeping score at home, this is the fourth consecutive NASL shutout for the Cosmos which dates back to the 2013 season. Three of those are credited to Maurer with one of those being their Soccer Bowl victory which of course saw Kyle Reynish (now with the Chicago Fire) in goal. Ironically enough the last person to score against the Cosmos was Tomasz Zahorski of the San Antonio Scorpions. Zahorski and the Scorpions will be paying the Cosmos a visit next week at Schuart Stadium on Saturday 4/26/14 at 7:30pm.
With the win, the Cosmos remain atop of the NASL along with Minnesota FC who managed a gritty come from behind victory against the Ottawa Fury. Minnesota went ahead 2-1, six minutes into injury time with a goal by Christian Ramirez off of a corner kick that sealed their victory.
Hunter Gorskie would see his first action of the season when he came in as a substitute for Sebastian Guenzatti who was carried off on a strecher. Guenzatti went down a couple of times in the match with what seems like a leg injury. Cosmos country hopes that he remains healthy as he has been a key component on two goals already this season for the league leading New York Cosmos. Also seeing action as substitutes for the NY Cosmos were Joseph Nane and Jemal Johnson.
For now, enjoy the highlights as well players comments courtesy of the NY Cosmos website.