Cosmos extend unbeaten streak to six games
New York Ties Deltas in Brooklyn
The Cosmos did everything right on Saturday except put the ball in the back of the net.
The statistics showed that New York was the better team, but the score said it was even as the Cosmos tied the San Francisco Deltas 0-0 in their return to Coney Island.
Following a 13-day North America Soccer League hiatus and a historic trip to Saudi Arabia, the Cosmos came out with a lot of aggression in front of a packed MCU Park on Military Appreciation Day and Fireworks Night.
“We are very pleased with tonight’s performance,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “We always want to get three points, but more important than that is the fact that we are getting closer to our true identity. That gives us a good feeling about the future.”
The Cosmos had several opportunities to score, but they were unable to put the ball on target as their lack of composure in the final third let them down.
The Cosmos did well to move the ball through the midfield and down the wings in their return to the states, but they never truly tested San Francisco goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.
A pair of position swaps initiated by Savarese brought life to New York as Ayoze was moved to the midfield and Emmanuel Ledesma — who scored the lone goal the last time these two teams met on April 29 — was moved from the wing to central forward.
With Ledesma in a more attacking role, he was able to create several dangerous opportunities.
The best chance of the game came in the 50th minute, as the Cosmos were eager to open the scoring in the second half.
Ledesma did brilliantly to cushion a floated ball off his chest in the 18-yard box, bring it down to his feet with a defender on his back, gain the endline and cross the ball.
Javi Marquez, competing in an aerial duel with a defender, headed the ball at goal, but it hit off the crossbar.
Ledesma, who earned Man of the Match honors for his performance, spoke about his more advanced role on the field.
“I feel good because any way, I have to run and I have to work hard,” Ledesma said. “On the right, in the striker, I have to work hard. This is football, even if you change the position you have to run and work hard.”
It was a physical game that saw a total of 31 fouls and seven yellow cards as tempers flared throughout the match.
Although the Cosmos failed to record a shot on target, an issue that plagued the team earlier this season, the chances were there. The Cosmos outpossessed the Deltas 62 to 38 percent and outshot them 7 to 3.
With the draw, San Francisco remained undefeated in five games on the road.
Ledesma articulated what New York has to do better to earn three points.
“We need to work a little bit more in the attack because in the defense we were working a lot, working very compact and very good,” he said. “We just need to be a little bit more clinical in the attacking part.”
Although the Cosmos were hoping to win, the evening was celebratory as two Cosmos players were honored for their contributions to the club.
Midfielder Danny Szetela and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer — who was out with a hamstring injury — were commemorated for reaching 100 club appearances for the Cosmos.
The duo became the third and fourth players to play in 100 games for the club in the modern era, joining teammates Ayoze and Carlos Mendes, who reached the milestone last season.
New York dropped to fourth place with the draw, but they have a game in hand after the team’s match last week was rescheduled for their trip to the Middle East.
The Deltas dropped to fifth place.
The Cosmos play on the road on Sunday against North Carolina FC at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and MSG Networks.
The team will return to MCU Park on Wednesday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m., as they host FC Edmonton.
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