Cosmos B Score Late Winner to Top Brooklyn Italians 3-2 in Inaugural Match

New York Cosmos B comes away with a win in its first ever game.
Published May 2, 2015

By Cosmos News Service

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (May 2, 2015) – New York Cosmos B netted late to take a 3-2 win from an entertaining inaugural game against the Brooklyn Italians at MCU Park on Saturday night.

After jumping out to a two-goal lead in the first half Cosmos B relented twice in the final 45 minutes, but substitute Julian Stahler struck the match-winner two minutes into second half stoppage time.

Head coach Alecko Eskandarian, who notched his first win in that role, was pleased with his side’s performance.

“You hear people say it's not about winning, but the honest truth is you need to get into the habit,” Eskandarian said after the match. “The guys showed tremendous heart and character to come back from giving up two goals, and some controversy with some of the referee's decisions, to still maintain their confidence and push until the very end. I thought we got a well-deserved goal at the end to get the three points.”

There were no attempts on goal in the early stages, as the all-new Cosmos B sought to establish a rhythm. Eskandarian was forced into a change in the 10th minute, as Hagop Chirishian went down. Brian Cunningham came on in his place.

The Italians were the first to threaten; Kareem Joachim fired an inviting ball across the face of goal in the 12th minute but nobody could make a connection. Yvener Guerrier had an even better chance a minute later, shooting just wide from inside the box.

Brooklyn had a corner that was scrambled away for another by the Cosmos in the 26th minute, and that one was curled towards goal but over the bar. Two minutes later, the tide turned in the Cosmos’ favor. Daniel Grundei brought down Ruben Bover for a penalty in the box, and Christian Hernandez calmly converted.

Bover had a long-range shot saved by Michael Bernardi just past the half-hour mark, then Cunningham cut inside and blasted a fierce effort just over the bar. It was a rapid flurry of Cosmos chances. Bover again tried his luck from range but he was off target.

The Italians had their best chance of the half with five minutes to go, Joachim turning to work space in the box but having done the hard work, he hit over. A minute later U.S. youth international Haji Wright made the most of bad Brooklyn defending to squeeze a shot under Bernardi.

Cunningham threatened to add to the lead four minutes after the restart, getting in behind the defense on the right flank before his angled shot was saved for a corner. Then after 51 minutes, Brooklyn were gifted a lifeline. Guerrier challenged goalkeeper Brian Holt for a loose ball, and in his desperate attempt to clear it Kelvin Preciado put it into his own net. Daniel Hererra's free kick skimmed the bar, and Guerrier had a great chance but Holt saved well with his legs as the Italians pushed for an equalizer.

Wright found himself in a good position at the other end, however his shot lacked sufficient power in the 72nd minute. Another Hererra free kick was well saved by Keasel Broome, on for the Cosmos in place of Holt.

Broome could do nothing to stop Kevin Lue's header from Alejandro Penzini's ball with seven minutes to go though, and it seemed as if Brooklyn had fought back for a point.

There was one last moment of drama however, as Stahler benefitted from a defensive mix-up to stroke in the winner two minutes into added time, giving the newly-assembled team a winning start.

“I thought there were a lot of controversial decisions both ways,” said Eskandarian. “With that said, I thought both teams worked their butts off. I'm very proud of my guys. I thought we did a great job possessing the ball and spreading the ball around.

“We created the better chances and overall I think we deserved to win the game. So I'm very happy for the guys and there were some very good individual performances as well.”

Eskandarian also looked ahead to the team's next game, against the Seacoast United Mariners at Mitchel Field next Saturday, May 9 at 1:05 p.m. ET.

“We are going to look to improve and build off every game,” he said. “We have only been together for a very short period of time, and we have a lot to work on still. We are hoping to improve each day in practice and each week on game day.”