The NY Cosmos topped the Brooklyn Italians 2-0 in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup at St. John's Belson Stadium.
Jimmy Ockford and Hagop Chirishian had played a grand total of nine minutes this entire season before the New York Cosmos hosted the Brooklyn Italians in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
However, they were given the start against Brooklyn and both players shined and scored their first goals of the season in a 2-0 victory for the Cosmos.
The game opened with fast and physical play on both sides, with the Italians trying to counter the Cosmos superior technical ability with sheer physicality. Brooklyn’s forwards pressed hard to try and force a chance, but didn’t give Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer too much trouble.
In fact, it was New York who got the premium chances in the early going, with midfielder Danny Szetela nearly converting on a volley in the fifth minute.
11 minutes later, defender Jimmy Ockford headed home his first goal of the regular season, off of a corner kick by Ayoze, to give the Cosmos a 1-0 lead.
With a one goal lead in hand, New York tried to push for a second, nearly converting on a Chirishian shot in the 23rd minute, and a Danny Szetela header one minute later.
The push paid off, as Chirishian picked up a rebound that came off of Italians goalkeeper Sheldon Parkinson to extend the Cosmos lead to 2-0. It was a special moment for Chirishian, whose cousins from California were in attendance at the game.
“It was a good opportunity, you work hard all season to get a chance to play, and once you get it you give your full effort to help out the team in any possible way,” Chirishian said.
The second half proved to be more physical than the first, with referee Andres Pfefferkorn pulling out cards five different times over the course of the second 45 minutes. Two of those cards turned red for the Italians, as midfielders Salvatore Barone and Yannick Diese saw their days end early in the 53rd and 82nd minute respectively.
Playing with nine men, the Italians offense eventually sputtered and stopped, with the Cosmos holding them to four shots, none of which were on goal.
More importantly for the Cosmos, forward Hans Denissen made his debut for the team, coming on in the 76th minute for forward Stefan Dimitrov. After recovering from a knee injury at the end of last season, Denissen had been recuperating slowly, but made his return to the pitch sooner than originally expected.
Head Coach Giovanni Savarese was pleased with the Cosmos U.S. Open Cup Debut.
“I think first of all we have to say it was a beautiful night of soccer. Two organizations that have great tradition and you felt that beautiful atmosphere here at St. John’s in Queens. So, I think from that standpoint it was a success because it was a soccer festival tonight,” Savarese said, “We were able to find the goals in the first half and that allowed us to be able to keep the ball, so it was just a good match tonight. “
With the third round of the U.S. Open Cup now another page in the Cosmos history book, the attention turns back to the Cosmos next match Saturday, May 31 in Florida against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.