For the second year in a row, the Cosmos will not face USL competition in their first match of the US Open Cup. On May 18th, Jersey Express will square up with the New York Pancyprian-Freedoms to determine who will face the NASL side. That match will be played at Pancyprian’s home ground: Belson Stadium at St. John’s University.
Cosmos fans will remember Jersey Express from the first round of last year’s US Open Cup. Goals from Leo Fernandes, Sebastian Guenzatti, and Mads Stokkelien propelled the Cosmos to a 3-0 win over the PDL side. Below is a TICC exclusive video of the Fernandes goal.
Video: Luis Hernandez/TICC
The Pancyprian-Freedoms offer another interesting dynamic. The team, which plays in the Cosmpolitan Soccer League, a member of the USASA, has a Cosmos connection. Bulgarian forward Stefan Dimitrov was a member of the New York Cosmos in 2013 and 2014 and now plays for Pancyprian (as this writer found out while covering their US Open Cup qualifier against the Greek-Americans).
“We’ve always considered the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup a very important tournament, and this year is no different,” said New York Cosmos Head Coach, Giovanni Savarese. “We highly respect both Jersey Express and NY Pancyprian Freedoms, and will work hard to put our best effort to defeat our rival. The first game of the tournament is typically one of the most difficult ones but we have confidence in our squad and capabilities.”
Whoever the Cosmos play in their first match, TICC confirmed yesterday the game will be played at Belson Stadium, as it was in 2014 against Brooklyn Italians and 2015 against Express. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 1st.