Cosmos suffer first defeat of the season in road loss.
HARRISON, NJ (July 1, 2015) – The New York Cosmos saw their U.S. Open Cup run and their unbeaten record in 2015 come to an end with a 4-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls in front of a crowd of 11,442 at Red Bull Arena.
“I think the particular mistakes we made put us in a difficult situation today,” said Cosmos head coach Gio Savarese. “I thought we had moments of the better play, we had the ball, we were creating chances, we were spreading the ball around very well. But there were key moments in which we gave them the chance to find themselves in the right areas and they penalized us.
“I thought we showed we can play and compete. We came here on the road and we didn’t back down. But we cannot have lapses in which we give the other team the opportunity to punish us.”
The Red Bulls would open the scoring through a fifth-minute header from midfielder Sal Zizzo. However, the Cosmos soon found their legs thanks in large part to Walter Restrepo. The 27-year-old Colombian midfielder looked dangerous in the early going as he marauded down the right side, threatening the Red Bulls’ backline with a series of impressive runs.
In the 16th minute one of Restrepo’s runs would finally pay off as he cut inside of the Red Bulls defense and after his pass took a deflection, Leo Fernandes was able to find Lucky Mkosana inside the 18. Mkosana calmly slotted the ball over the outstretched arms of Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
Just after the midway point of the first half, Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer kept the game knotted at one with a terrific save on a sizzler from Sean Davis.
In the 33rd minute it looked like the Red Bulls would jump in front again but Zizzo’s goal was called back on a clear offside call. The Red Bulls wouldn’t be denied a first-half lead as Anatole Abang headed home a corner from Sacha Kljestan in the 42nd minute.
The Cosmos sent forward Raúl on at the start of the second half. It wouldn’t be long before the talismanic Spaniard made his presence felt as he came agonizingly close to scoring the equalizer, narrowly missing a cross from Fernandes with an open goal looming.
The Cosmos would be the victims of some misfortune in the 54th minute as Hunter Gorskie was called for an awkward tackle on Chris Duvall in the box. Kljestan was called on to take the spot kick for the home side and sent Maurer diving the wrong way to give the Red Bulls a two-goal cushion.
Despite being down two goals for their second straight game, the Cosmos kept the pressure high on the hosts and had it not been for some terrible luck, would have trimmed their deficit to just one with plenty of time to go.
In the 63rd minute Raúl got up to meet a Sebastian Guenzatti cross but headed against the crossbar with a powerful attempt. The rebound fell to Mkosana who struck the ball cleanly only to see the ball careen off the left post.
A few minutes later it would be Marcos Senna’s turn to feel hard done by not scoring. Following a foul just outside the box, the former Villareal star struck a long-range free kick that forced a tremendous save from Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
In the 83rd minute, goalkeeper Maurer kept the Cosmos in the game by producing a remarkable save when Felipe met a cross from just outside the six-yard box.
As the Cosmos kept pressing to get back in the game, the Red Bulls looked to counter at every opportunity and it would be substitute Mike Grella who would put the game away with a 90th-minute goal.
“I think all their goals were bad giveaways from us,” Mkosana said. “They attacked us. I feel like we played well as a whole. They had some good chances, of course they made sure they scored their chances.
“I feel like them getting an early goal in the second half killed us mentally going forward. We’re going to take this as a lesson and get ready for Sunday.”
After winning the NASL Spring Season with an undefeated record, the Cosmos open their fall campaign this Sunday, July 5. Kickoff against Indy Eleven is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium.