The New York Cosmos and the Carolina Railhawks met for the second time in just 9 days.
The Cosmos came from behind on August 22nd for a 3-1 win in North Carolina. It was the first win ever at WakeMed Soccer Park for the Cosmos. For the second matchup, the NY Cosmos were without goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer and defender Hunter Freeman who both had tightness in their hamstrings.
The Cosmos looked very comfortable in possession during the early going, dominating most of the play and it looked like it might be a long day for the Railhawks. But the Cosmos didn’t make the most of a couple of opportunities and in the 23rd minute Carolina found an equalizer. Tiyiselani Shipalane dribbled past his defender and played a ball across the face of the goal for Nazmi Albadawi to score an easy tap in.
After their goal, Carolina found themselves more in the game and did a better job of keeping the ball. Eventually, Carolina got their reward. Shipalane played a through ball that Albadawi ran onto and hit a thunder strike from about 16 yards out. Cosmos goalkeeper Brian Holt couldn’t do much to stop the strike at his near post. (Video: https://twitter.com/ONEWorldSports/status/638098506281041920)
The Railhawks took a surprising 2-1 lead into halftime.
The second half kicked off with both teams having their fair share of the play. Brian Holt made a quality save in the 50th minute. Then in the 61st minute Lucky Mkosana was taken down in the box and the Cosmos were awarded a penalty. Raul converted from the spot for this 5th goal of the season and to equalize the game. The Railhawks forced Holt to make a great save off a volley in the 66th minute and seconds later Carolina’s captain Daniel Scott received a straight red card after elbowing Lucky Mkosana in the face. With the man advantage the Cosmos had most of the play and kept the ball quite well. A great buildup play by the Comsos led to Leo Fernandes being knocked down in the box for a second penalty, giving the Cosmos a chance to take the lead. Raul stepped up again but this time he put his shot wide left and missed! The highly talented 17-year-old American Haji Wright came on in the 81st minute and he had a positive impact. In the 85th minute Wright did a great job to chest down a ball inside the box and lay it off to Mkosana who slotted the ball home to give the Cosmos a 3-2 lead!! Brian Holt actually had to make a save or two to hold onto the victory. The Cosmos picked up an important 3 points in an entertaining match.
For a 17 year old Haji Wright looked experienced and confident on the ball, expect to hear his name quite often surrounding the U.S. Men’s National Team in the coming years. Gio Savarese said that Wright brought “something a little different and did well to support Lucky…. his contribution was very good and we keep on seeing that he’s growing and developing.”
More Savarese comments:
“Lucky did everything right today, it was a complete performance.”
“Maurer and Freeman were not 100% and they both had a little tightness in the hamstring.”