Playing their second game in as many days, New York Cosmos B bounced back in a big way with a 3-1 win over New York Athletic Club Saturday afternoon at Hofstra Soccer Stadium. Physical and a war in the midfield, this matchup was a typical fourth division trench battle.
Cosmos B started the game in a 4-3-3 much like they did on Friday against Seacoast United, but with two big changes. Kyle Zobeck slotted in at keeper for Hector Guerrero, while an unknown player named Ruiz came into the front line in place of Julian Stahler.
Cosmos B got on the board early through a Franklin Castellanos corner, which found the head of Venezuelan Alejandro Mitrano, making the score 1-0 with only three minutes gone.
The scoreline stayed 1-0 until the 38th minute, when goalkeeper, and part-time religious icon, Zobeck was caught off his line by Berisha, leveling the game at one apiece.
Stahler replaced Ruiz at the beginning of the second half, and subsequently delivered a man of the match performance. His constant presence, awareness, and technical ability were a major difference in the match up. His contribution peaked in the 81st minute, where a smooth long ball from Stahler was latched onto and finished by Trey Williams, securing the win for the B side. Franklin Castellanos added a otherworldly free kick in the 87th minute to cement the win and a 3-1 scoreline on the afternoon.
Some additional notes on the day:
- Despite his star performance, I’m still not utterly convinced that Julian Stahler’s best position on this team is at wing. There was many a time today where Fernando Barbato had to yell tactical instructions to Stahler and get him into a better position. Certainly an impressive contribution today, but I still wonder if he would be better serving the squad elsewhere.
- Gonzalo Rodriguez has quietly become the MVP of the Cosmos defense thus far this season. Rodriguez’s good positional sense, high work rate, and ability to slot in various defensive areas have been a huge help to Cosmos B’s efforts in the NPSL this season.
- This match was a head and shoulders improvement for Barbato’s side in comparison to last night. Team play and tactical organization were high points of emphasis for the boys in green, and it showed immensely. NYAC tried to fight tactics with muscle, and they failed.
Got to tag along with Steve for this one. I agree that while Stahler had a good night, he looked lost at points. Would like to see him move more central.
Mitrano is going to be great. Pacy as hell and smart with the ball. Rough night for him in a very physical match, but he held together well.
Castellanos might be my favorite. Great positioning, smart touches and excellent footwork. In the 63rd minute, he carved out space for himself inside three defenders and beat their keeper with a shot just to watch it bang off a cross bar. Definitely will keep my eye on him.