With loss to Deltas, Cosmos miss out on first place
The New York Cosmos entered Saturday’s match against the San Francisco Deltas looking like a team with something to prove.
After beating the Spring Season Champion Miami FC one week earlier, the Cosmos brought that momentum with them into Kezar Stadium, maintaining possession, creating chances and scoring early.
A pair of mistakes at the end of the first half, however, proved to be the difference between the two teams as New York eventually lost 2-1.
“We had control of the match in its early stages. However, two isolated plays put us in a difficult position going into the break,” said Cosmos head coach and Sporting Director Giovanni Savarese.
“We tried to recover on the second half, but the game turned physical and unfortunately we ran out of time to come back.”
Eric Calvillo continued his stellar run of form setting up the Cosmos’ only brace of the game to Pablo Vranjican, who has found the back of the net twice in five starts.
The goal came in the third minute when Calvillo, who was recently honored as North American Soccer League Player of the Month, crossed a ball into the box to Eugene Starikov.
Starikov tried to turn, but the ball got away from him, falling to the feet of Vrajican. After slipping in front of goal, Vrajican showed his striker’s instinct to get back up and hit the ball off-balance into the net.
New York had a real opportunity to send a message to the league by defeating two teams that finished above them in the spring standings, but the two mistakes referenced by the fifth-year Venezuelan gaffer proved difficult to overcome.
The first lapse in judgment occurred in the 36th minute when an unmarked Patrick Hopkins got on the end of a long free kick to slot the ball past Jimmy Maurer.
In the 45th minute, a handball by Dejan Jakovic forced the referee to issue a penalty, which the Deltas converted.
Despite possessing the ball for much of the game and creating several dangerous chances on a wet field, the Cosmos couldn’t find an equalizer.
Although the fall season is only two games old, the Cosmos missed out on an opportunity to create separation at the top of the table and to defeat a team that has proven to be a thorn in their side.
With the loss, the Cosmos fell to fifth place, but they are only one point out of first.
Moving forward, the Cosmos will need to maximize points at home while looking to secure at least one point on the road, especially against teams that hold the tie-breaker against them.
The winners of the spring and fall campaigns get automatic qualification into the four-team playoffs. The next two teams with the best records over the course of the two seasons get the final two spots.
Miami FC locked up a berth by winning the Spring Season, which leaves three spots up for grabs. The Cosmos’ best chance of making the playoffs will be to win the Fall Season.
New York will be on the road against FC Edmonton on Friday at 9 p.m. The team returns to MCU Park to face Indy Eleven on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 7:30 p.m.