Photo Gallery: New York Cosmos 2-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
By Christopher Thomas
All times are EDT
James M. Shuart Stadium
Referee: M. Geiger
By Christopher Thomas
By NY Cosmos
Match Report: New York Cosmos 2-1 Fort Lauderdale Strikers
(Photo Credit: Mike Stobe)
The 2013 New York Cosmos got off on the right foot Aug. 3 in front of a sold-out building at Hofstra University's Shuart Stadium, beating the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on a go-ahead goal from Alessandro Noselli in the final minutes.
On a night in which 11,929 “Cosmos Country” fans came out to honor players from the club’s past -- including Pele, Carlos Alberto and the late Giorgio Chinaglia -- the capacity crowd was also provided with a look into the future of the iconic franchise.
“For us, what we wish for this team, is we want them to be very proud of history but we don’t want them to be burdened with our legacy. We want them to create their own identity and I think we saw the first step,” said Shep Messing, former Cosmos goalie and current soccer analyst.
The Cosmos took the first lead on a Peri Marošević goal just before halftime, as Marošević found himself alone in front of Strikers’ goalkeeper Richard Sanchez following a long crossing pass and a header that Marošević was able to corral and slip past Sanchez.
The Strikers evened the score in the 73rd minute when midfielder Walter Restrepo’s header soared over Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish. The second half featured more physical play, resulting in a handful of scrums between players.
“Today’s match was a complicated one, like all of them will be in this league. From the very beginning, they made it hard for us, but eventually our team started moving the ball more quickly. That was the key for us,” said Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese.
In the final minutes of stoppage time, Alessandro Noselli, who was denied on an in-close scoring chance earlier in the second half, directed a header past Sanchez to seal the win for the Cosmos.
“[Noselli] is a striker, a player who we know what he’s capable of. He scored in Italy for many years. He was very smart reading the play and being able to put it in dramatically at the end,” Savarese noted.
The Cosmos sent a total of 16 shots -- with half landing on goal -- toward the Strikers’ 19-year-old goaltender, who kept Fort Lauderdale in the game (the Strikers only managed two shots on goal) and earned praise from his coach, Gunter Kronsteiner.
“We have a great keeper I can tell you this right now. You saw his play today. He can make it very big,” said Kronsteiner.
The Cosmos returned to the North American Soccer League (NASL) after a nearly 30-year hiatus, though the club’s brand managed to resonate throughout the soccer world even in its absence.
“I travel all over the world. Tomorrow I go from here to China. Every place I go, people ask me about the New York Cosmos,” said Cosmos legend Carlos Alberto.
Current Cosmos players were also well aware of the legacy associated with the Cosmos name and its fans, both past and present.
“It’s an honor to play for this club. It was an incredible atmosphere. As players it gives you the extra push. We want to thank all the fans and we’re just happy that we could get the three points. That’s what we’re here to do -- to continue the Cosmos tradition and win games,” said Cosmos defender Carlos Mendes, a native of nearby Mineola, N.Y.
With the win, Alberto, a three-time NASL champion, had a clear message for Cosmos Country.
“Believe in the New York Cosmos. We don’t want to compete with other sports in this place; we have our sport. What we want is for people to believe that we’re going to create a great team here,” Alberto said.
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NASL Regular Season