The Cosmos continued to implement the 4-1-4-1 that has given them the most success this season. The line-up remained the same on the forward and midfield lines with Jairo Arrieta up top, Yohandry Orozco, Niko Kranjčar, Juan Arango, and Sebastian Guenzatti in the attacking midfield roles and Michael Lahoud as the sole holding mid. Jimmy Maurer remained in the net with Ayoze and Carlos Mendes in front. The only changes came on the right side of the back line as Jimmy Ockford returned as a starter and Hunter Freeman slid back to the right as a result.
The game opened up in a bizarre fashion, with a delay on account of… socks. Opposing clubs are supposed to wear different shades of clothing, and the white socks that both teams had equipped were a problem for referee Yusri Rudolf. According to Steven Sandor, a call to the league headquarters was required before the match could proceed and the focus could shift from socks to soccer.
The game opened with Edmonton putting heavy pressure on the Cosmos, not allowing them to get much space anywhere and battling for control of the midfield.
The Cosmos were the first to threaten at the net when Orozco fired a shot right to Matt Van Oekel early on. He would follow that up seconds later with a cross to Arrieta on the far post who couldn’t get a header on frame with a wide-open net. Another attempt from the Venezuelan would roll just wide in the 16th minute.
The Eddies, however, would score first in the 13th. Dustin Corea sent a ball over the top of the defense to Jason Plumhoff, who took advantage of the advanced positioning of Ayoze and made a run at goal. He would shake Mendes off with a series of cuts before hitting a low strike past Maurer and into the left side of the net.
Freeman came dangerously close to pulling the Cosmos even in the 19th minute. His corner kick sailed over Matt Van Oekel and bounced off the far post before being cleared.
Orozco would find an equalizer in the 22nd. Arango fed a ball to Arrieta who made a run into the right side of the box and drew attention before sliding a ball to Orozco at the penalty spot. His initial touch threw Papé Diakite off balance and gave him the space he needed to hit a low shot around Van Oekel and in.
Tomi Ameobi would finish a ball in the 34th, but the offsides flag would go up, correctly. A late save in stoppage would be required from Maurer on a perilous shot from Corea off a free kick.
Each side made changes at the half. For the Eddies, it was their socks, changing into blue ones. The Cosmos would go with a more traditional player sub, bringing on David Ochieng for his first NASL appearance. Ockford would come off after being on the receiving end of an Ameobi foul at the end of the first half.
The Eddies would make a pair of subs, bringing on Shamit Shome for goal scorer Plumhoff and Pablo Cruz in for Johann Smith. A Cosmos sub would follow soon after with Andres Flores entering for Kranjčar.
Tight play would continue in the second half until the 74th minute. After a free kick was conceded by Ayoze, Adam Eckersley delivered a ball to the head of an unmarked Diakite who slipped behind Arango and Ochieng and had plenty of time to finish a ball past Maurer.
The Cosmos would go to the bench for their last sub, pulling Arango in favor of another forward as Lucky Mkosana entered the match. Unwilling to risk yellow-carded Ameobi, the Eddies also made one, bringing on Jake Keegan.
The Eddies looked all but set to put the game away in stoppage time as Keegan attacked the right side of the net, drawing the attention of both Maurer and Mendes before sliding a through ball to the right side, Corea was faced with an open net but made the baffling decision of settling the ball, which gave the two Cosmos players time to recover, and then firing it wide as opposed to a simple tap-in.
Ultimately, Edmonton hung onto the win and the three points, moving into fourth-place, just a point behind the Cosmos.
- These are the first goals the Cosmos have surrendered before 90′ with the other three goals against them coming in the final minute or stoppage time
- All five goals against the Cosmos have come on the road
- Maurer gave up two goals after only permitting one in the previous five games
- While they are 3-0 at home, the Cosmos have hit a road slump, winning only one of four on the road, the other three games being losses
- Despite 63% possession by the visitors, the Eddies made more of it with eight shots on goal to the Cosmos’ three.
- Series history now at 3-3-3 with only 1 Cosmos win at Clark Stadium
We’ll talk more about it on this week’s show.