Soccer MPR — August 25, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Cosmos Rally For 1-1 Draw

Image Credit: Jeremías Pérez Artiga

Image Credit: Jeremías Pérez Artiga

NEW YORK – Down to 10 men for the majority of the match, the New York Cosmos drew with Minnesota United FC 1-1 on Saturday, Aug. 23 at James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, NY.

The visitors found themselves up a goal and up a man early on when Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer was shown a straight red in the 6th minute after taking down Minnesota midfielder Daniel Mendes in the box. Minnesota striker Christian Ramirez, who already had 12 goals coming into the match, stepped up to score the resulting penalty in the 8th minute against substitute goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck.

Minnesota didn’t sit back after the early goal, and used its man advantage to nearly double the lead on 18 minutes. Midfielder Jamie Watson ran to catch a well-threaded ball through the middle, but Zobeck was aware of the threat and raced off his line to clear the danger.

Despite going down a man, the Cosmos grew as the game progressed, and found success going forward on the Minnesota flanks. Their pressure continued to keep the visitors on the back foot, and New York nearly equalized in the 20th minute through midfielder Andrés Flores. The Isidro Metapán loanee found himself one-on-one with Minnesota goalkeeper Matt VanOekel, but the United stalwart was able to make the save.

“The guys did very well,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese after the match. “We can always improve. There are things we can always do better, but tonight was a good step up to where we need to be.”

Following the break, the Cosmos started the second half even better than they ended the first, often making it look like it was Minnesota who was playing down a man. Their first great chance of the second half came to Hagop Chirishian, who, after some quick one-touch passing in the midfield, was in on goal in the 56th minute, only to see his effort denied by the outstretched hand of VanOekel.

VanOekel had no time to catch his breath. Forward Stefan Dimitrov found himself in a similar situation to Chirishian just two minutes later, after chesting down a perfectly weighted ball over the top and forcing the Minnesota keeper to make a save with an outstretched leg.

The Cosmos were finally rewarded for all their hard work when substitute Mads Stokkelien poked home a low cross from close range in the 74th minute. It was the forward’s fourth goal of the 2014 season.

If the Cosmos were satisfied with a point, they certainly didn’t show it. They continued to keep up the pressure, and had a very strong penalty claim turned aside in the 79th minute when Flores was bowled over in the box. A minute later Hunter Freeman struck the post from long range, after VanOekel found himself stranded outside of his area.

“The important thing was the balance we showed today,” said Savarese. “We were very solid because of the balance we had defensively when we had the ball. The team was patient to find the gaps, and we were very dangerous when we were able to expose them. I think the guys deserved a little bit more tonight.”

Both teams claimed a point in the end. Despite their numerical disadvantage, the Cosmos could consider themselves unlucky not to have notched a winner in the end. Minnesota stretched its unbeaten run to 11 matches, while the Cosmos will look to build on the hard-fought draw when they face Indy Eleven on the road next Saturday, Aug. 30 at 7:30 p.m. ET.


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