The following was released by the New York Cosmos following their victory on Sunday:
NEW YORK (June 8, 2014) – On a day Giorgio Chinaglia’s No. 9 was retired, fittingly an Italian scored the winning goal for the New York Cosmos.
“It’s beautiful how things work sometimes,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said.
Italian forward Alessandro Noselli scored his lone goal of the campaign, lifting the Cosmos to a 1-0 victory over Ottawa Fury FC in the final game of the NASL Spring Season Sunday at Shuart Stadium.
“It’s a great day, a perfect day for me because Giorgio Chinaglia was one of the best players in the Cosmos history,” Noselli said. “For me to score on the same day of the retirement of his jersey was a great thing.”
Noselli knocked in a cross from fellow striker Mads Stokkelien from 14 yards to give the Cosmos (6-2-1) a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute. It was Stokkelien’s team-leading third assist of the campaign.
“Perfect ball, great, great pass,” Noselli said. “I don’t say nothing because it’s perfect.”
Savarese spoke to these Cosmos before the game to honor Chinaglia, the all-time leading scorer in NASL history, the right way.
“One thing we spoke to the players is we need to honor Giorgio because he was a winner, an important part of this organization and the least we can do to honor him is give 100 percent,” Savarese said. “I think the guys did today.”
The Cosmos played with the right mentality despite knowing Minnesota United captured the Spring Season as a result of a 3-3 tie with Tampa Bay Saturday night. The Cosmos finished second with 19 points, one behind Minnesota.
“Of course we’re disappointed. You play to win and we fell a little short in the spring, but for us the mentality was to get as many points as possible,” Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes said. “This adds up to the end of the year also. The three points was huge today.”
Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer needed to only make two saves for his sixth clean sheet of the campaign, but he was pressed into action in the 89th minute when he came off his line to rob Ottawa defender Drew Beckie from point-blank range at the edge of the six-yard box.
“The ball ended up bouncing around the box, one of our guys got a good block, but then the ball spilled to the middle,” Maurer said. “I was able to close the guy down and make a save.”
Ottawa (3-5-1) pressed for the equalizer late, but the Cosmos back line held back the charge. Remarkably, the Cosmos conceded just three goals in the nine-game Spring Season.
“It’s been a great run defensively for sure,” Maurer said. “There’s still a lot of things we can do better, but all the credit goes to the guys in front of me. The way we defend as a team, the back four especially, but through the midfield and even the forwards…These guys just work so hard for 90 minutes.”
Now the Cosmos’ focus turns to what they are calling a New York derby as the New York Red Bulls come to Shuart Stadium for a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup clash.
“These games are special games, the ones that allow soccer to grow in New York and they’re very important. … I feel more of the pressure is on the Red Bulls because I don’t think we have anything to lose,” Savarese said. “That makes it a lot better for us.”
The Cosmos will come in as underdogs, but there’s confidence in the locker room that a result can be achieved.
“We have a lot of guys with a lot of talent in this locker room, guys who played in MLS, who played abroad, other guys who are young and coming up,” Maurer said. “We can definitely beat them. In soccer, any team can win on any given day.”
The New York Cosmos return to action on Saturday, June 14, at 8:15 pm ET at Shuart Stadium, when they take on the New York Red Bulls in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup.