Give Rayo OKC some credit. Despite being a team in turmoil and under new management, they came to New York and put an end to the longest NASL win streak at home in modern history.
New York, on the other hand, spent long stretches of the match on the back foot and under pressure, but they came back from an early goal to to finish with a draw.
Adam Moffat took the sole holding mid position as Lucky Mkosana returned to the right wing position that found him success last week. David Diosa took the left side as Yohandry Orozco was unavailable and Yasmani Duk pushed up.
Rayo OKC made a few changes of their own, starting with the head coach. Formerly the assistant technical director at Rayo Vallecano, Gerard Nus arrived to meet his team in New York on Saturday for the first time. For his first match as an NASL coach, he opted to continue with the 4-4-2 system that Rayo has used extensively, sloting in Derek Boateng in the one center mid position that has been a revolving door, and replacing Devon Sandoval with Georgios Samaras in his first start since their 1-0 loss in New York in the spring.
Less than 45 seconds had elapsed when New York came close to getting on the board. Yasmani Duk put a ball from the left side to Ayoze entering the box. The Spaniard’s shot was tipped wide and nearly to Mkosana who nearly had the chance to finish into an open net, but was stopped by the foot of Moises Hernandez.
However, it would be Rayo who struck first, in the fourth minute. Billy Forbes went one on one with Jimmy Mulligan on the left, and managed a cross into the six. An unopposed Samaras made a run between Freeman and Ayoze, hitting a wide open area of the net. With only two goals in the NASL season, both against the Cosmos, he appears to continue to grind his ax against the team who turned him down before the season’s start.
The Cosmos came close to giving up a second in the 37th. Jimmy Maurer hit a ball directly to Forbes who re-directed it to an open Samaras. The Greek forward stepped to the edge of the box and fired, but the keeper was able to get a foot on it and make the save.
Just a minute later, the Cosmos were given a penalty as Mkosana went to ground on the left side of the box against Kosuke Kimura. Adam Moffat stepped up to the spot and buried his fourth goal of the season.
The second half remained scoreless and the match ended in a 1-1 draw ending their 10-game regular season win streak at Shuart, but extending their unbeaten streak to 12 regular season matches.
“We let it get away, no doubt,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese in postgame. “But looking at some of the matches we have played, that we lost, we wish we had won.”
“But, for me today, the good thing is not about how much we lost, but what we gained. And we got a point, and it’s not the full three points, but for us it’s an important point.”
The Cosmos next take on old foes as the Tampa Bay Rowdies travel up to New York next weekend. Both sides will have a win on their minds after the 2-2 draw in Al Lang weeks ago.
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