Blog Written by Alessandro Pugliese (@sandro_pugliese):
They say history repeats itself. It certainly did in the East River Derby on Wednesday night. The New York Cosmos defeated New York City Football Club in the Fourth Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Jack Coffey Field on Fordham University’s Bronx campus. The location and score line were different last year on June 17, 2015 but the final outcome was the same. Before the match I overheard an NYCFC fan saying, “It’s finally time to beat a New York team” but the Manchester City affiliate is still winless against New York teams (0-4 vs. Red Bulls, 0-2 Cosmos).
Both sides eased into the match, seemingly stuck in first gear for the majority of the first half, which might be understandable considering NYCFC’s much-filtered starting lineup. The Cosmos had the better chances in the first 45 minutes, testing NYCFC goalkeeper Eirik Johansen twice in the early going with shots on target from Jairo Arrieta and Yohandry Orozco.
NYCFC started playing higher up the field in the second half, putting more pressure on the Cosmos. Left-back Diego Martinez’s strike from 25 yards out had power and swerve, forcing goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to parry it away. NYCFC continued to control most of the play, leading to a Patrick Mullins shot from inside the box that Maurer was able to save without too much trouble. The MLS side’s best chance came in the 73rd minute when Mullins nipped the ball between Roversio and Mullins, giving him an open goal. But in heroic fashion, Hunter Freeman was able to recover and make a goal-saving sliding tackle. A huge play which was a key moment in the match.
Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese made his first substitution, bringing on Adam Moffat for Ruben Bover in the 79th minute. With extra time looming, the Cosmos broke the deadlock through a fantastic build up of play. Ayoze played a ball into the middle as Moffat opened up his body to let the ball run by his defender. The Scottish midfielder then dribbled into the final third, spraying the ball out wide left to Orozco whose cross was headed home by an open Danny Szetela. The 88th minute strike saw the Cosmos supporters celebrating deliriously and singing passionately well after the final whistle.
“I am very proud of the guys, the way they were organized tactically,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese after the match. “There was a moment in the second half where we struggled a little bit, but then we readjusted and at the end we were able to find the goal at a critical moment and important moment for us to win the game.”
This is the third year in a row that the New York Cosmos have defeated an MLS club in the Fourth Round of the U.S. Open Cup. The other North American Soccer League (NASL) club to advance was the Fort Lauderdale Strikers who beat D.C. United in a penalty shootout.
“The win against NYCFC yesterday was symbolic of everything the Cosmos and their fans stand for,” Cosmos supporter Franco Zagari said. “True heart, true passion that transcends any divisional status within the landscape of US Soccer. It was a truly memorable victory. That’s what makes the US Open Cup a very important tournament for all of us.”
The New York Cosmos will host the Fifth Round matchup against the New England Revolution at St. John's Belson Stadium on Wednesday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m.