Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer sat this one out as Brian Holt took his spot. Ayoze and Roversio were also on the bench as David Diosa and David Ochieng got the starts.
Adam Moffat and Andres Flores jumped in for Danny Szetela and Juan Arango and Lucky Mkosana got his first start of the season, displacing Jairo Arrieta.
Let me also add here that the Fury had a pretty rough time going into this match. Losing Canadian MNT player Marcel de Jong from the roster and having head coach Paul Dalglish suspended wasn’t helpful.
Then add in their 3 AM arrival time on the morning of the match along with the equipment that arrived even later. And finally factor in that whatever game plan Ottawa had, it all went out the window four minutes into the match.
As Lucky Mkosana chased down a loose ball into the Fury box, a studs-up slide into the striker by goalkeeper Romuald Peiser resulted in a red for the French keeper in just the fourth minute. After a delay of several more minutes, back-up keeper Marcel DeBellis subbed on in place of forward Dennis Chin.
His first action of the game would be to surrender a penalty kick to Moffat in the ninth minute, leaving Ottawa a goal down, a man down before ten minutes had elapsed.
The Cosmos continued to press as Ottawa often vacated the midfield for defensive positions. Ruben Bover and Sebastian Guenzatti had saves made on their shots, before Ottawa found its footing and fired one of their own that might have beaten Holt if not for the foot of Hunter Freeman.
Ottawa’s tough, physical defending played a big part of the evening. James Bailey earned Ottawa’s second card of the night, this time a yellow, for chopping the legs of Flores out from under him at the edge of the Fury box in the 33rd. Three minutes later, Julian de Guzman picked up his first booking of the fall for a takedown of Ruben Bover.
It wouldn’t be enough.
In the first minute of stoppage, Ochieng spotted Mkosana making a run on net. He played the bounce following the ball to left side of the net and drawing DeBellis to him before kung-fu kicking the ball over the keeper to the and into the right side of the net for the 2-0 minutes before halftime.
The Fury had a chance to get on the board in the 58th as Edward put a cross into the box and an open Carl Haworth missed an empty net, putting the ball over the net and a diving Holt. A Cosmos free kick just outside the Fury box also came close as Yohandry Orozco’s shot forced a diving parry from the Fury keeper.
Frustration caused Ottawa’s third yellow as Carl Haworth picked one up in the 65th. Frustrated with a call that went the Cosmos’ way, he picked up and booted a ball away, giving the referee no recourse but to pull out the card.
Down two goals, Ottawa made their second substitution of the night in the 68th, a defensive one. Julian de Guzman, looking ineffective for much of the evening, left the field and center back Rafael Alves entered the match.
The Cosmos put a chance to put the game out of reach in the 77th minute. Moffat curled a ball into the six as Freeman broke away from his defender and opted to tip it over DeBellis, sending it over the bar from point blank range.
After his first start and first assist, Ochieng received his first card in the 78th, fouling Carl Haworth in the midfield.
The Cosmos made a bid to shut the game down in the 80th minute, making two subs, both defensive. Orozco and Bover exited the match in favor of Danny Szetela and Ayoze, respectively. Ottawa follow suit with their final substitution in the 81st, again defensive as center back Timbó entered for the frustrated Haworth.
Ottawa suffered a setback in the 88th minute, going down another man. With a loose ball rolling in the Ottawa box, DeBellis charged into it, taking down Diosa and Edward, his own defender. The strength of the tackle forced the Cosmos to sub out Diosa for Jairo Arrieta. With no subs left, Edward walked off, leaving nine on the field.
Down two goals, two men, and in stoppage time, Ottawa managed to do the unlikely, give themselves a chance at a result.
Lance Rozeboom collected a ball on the left side of the field and managed a through ball to Alves inside the Cosmos’ box. He evaded a tackle from Moffat and fired a ball that Holt got a hand on and deflected away…to Paulo Junior. Ayoze could not make the tackle in time and his shot put Ottawa back within one.
The goal strangely echoed the finale of the 2015 Soccer Bowl when Alves’ shot in second half stoppage time was saved by Maurer before then-Fury forward Tom Heinemann scored the rebound putting them within a goal of tying it.
The next Ottawa attack down the left side in the 93rd resulted in a yellow as Guenzatti threw a tackle down on Timbó that earned him a booking. However, the Cosmos would hang on to the one-goal lead and win.
“First of all, we are very lucky that the linesman saw what we saw from the bench,” said head coach Giovanni Savarese after the match. “And he was able to tell the referee exactly what happened. I don’t know if the linesman didn’t give the information at that moment, I don’t know if the ref saw exactly what really happened. And that changed completely the game.”
The Cosmos next travel to Miami FC and its many new, and two very familiar, faces.
- Aside from creating the penalty kick chance and his strike, Lucky Mkosana looked hungry the whole night throwing his body into every opportunity that came his way. With Duk sidelined by a broken nose and Arrieta not producing lately, it’s possible his performance filed a strong claim for the starting role.
- Brian Holt was fantastic and has rarely disappointed when getting his chances. He consistently made good decisions throughout the match when under pressure.
- Strong first performance for David Ochieng who looked confident on the back line with minimal mistakes.
- The Cosmos’ shot total of 23 was the largest amount they’ve posted in the NASL this season and only the second time they’ve cracked 20 shots in a game, the other match being against Rayo OKC (22).
- Paulo Junior looked absolutely inspired for Ottawa on the attack, despite missing a forward after the red card.
- A rare scene took place in the 49th minute as the linesman was hit head on by a ball from Kyle Porter. After several minutes’ delay and a check-up by the medical, the linesman was switched with the fourth official as a precautionary measure.
First, I have to say that this game was not the easiest game to watch.
Now that that is out of the way, the job got done. An understandable makeshift lineup was able to get 3 points at home. Of course the red card in the 4th minute helped things along but it was a grind out performance.
Lucky, for me, is the man of the match. He created the first goal with his run that forced Peiser to go studs up. He scored a second and he really made some great moves inside the 18 to be a thread. His bicycle attempt in the 55th showed just how solid he was.
On Lucky’s goal, while credit goes for the skillful finish, we would not be fair if we did not recognize the wonderful ball played from the back by Ochieng. He was pretty solid all night and offered some really nice passes out of the back to start an attack. I did see a few miss marks and one that almost led to a goal but Haworth headed it over.
My other recognitions go to Freeman who provided some great service all night and Brian Holt. Holt came up with some nice saves and great punches in his first league start of the season. Towards the end, when Ottawa was trying to equalize, I did feel he punched away when he probably should have gobbled the ball up to eat the clock, but a great performance for him.
It is kind of hard to get a fair read on how far Ottawa has come since the Spring Season as they were playing down a man for just about the duration of the match. They had their manager upstairs and it was just a tough game for them. However, credit should be given as they shored up nicely and made it tough for the Cosmos to build serious attacks.
I think the addition of Mallan Roberts and Edward will completely help the issues they had in the back but also Edward contributes to the attack nicely. If Haworth can finish the ball, they will be players in the fall.
Job done for the Cosmos and we move on to next week. Happy 4th everyone!