Cosmos Down Strikers 2-0 at Home

Goals from Hunter Freeman and Leo Fernandes gave the Cosmos an important win at Shuart Stadium on Sunday night.
Published Aug 3, 2015
By Cosmos News Service

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – (August 2, 2015) Hunter Freeman’s 27th-minute goal was pivotal in helping lead the New York Cosmos to a 2-0 win over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Sunday at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. It was right back’s first score of the year after recovering from injury in the spring, and it set the tone for the Cosmos’ second win against Fort Lauderdale in 2015.

“So many times it doesn’t go your way,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said postgame. “These past three games we had chances, we hit the crossbar and the post so many times. You’re thinking, ‘When is it going to turn around and actually go in the goal this time?'”

Freeman appeared to be playing a cross toward the back post, but the lofted ball found its way over Strikers goalkeeper Josh Ford and into the net to give the Cosmos a first half lead.

“It was a set play from practice,” Savarese joked. “It ended up going into the goal, which was a great thing."

Freeman’s teammates gave the veteran the benefit of the doubt.

“I think he meant to do it, but I don’t know,” midfielder Andrés Flores said. “After the game we asked him, ‘Who were you looking for?' He said, ‘The goal.’”

"If you ask Hunter he’ll probably say he did it on purpose, so I’ll go with his words,” added Leo Fernandes.

Either way, Savarese thought it was a good omen for the rest of the match.

“When you score a goal like that it gives you that feeling that it’s going to be a good day,” he said. “But no good day comes without hard work.”

There was no question that Fernandes was going for goal when the Cosmos capitalized quickly on a Fort Lauderdale turnover at midfield. Raúl turned and played a perfect through ball to Fernandes, who slotted past Ford and inside the far post from eight yards out in the 43rd minute.

“I just found some space in between the back four, and me and Raúl made eye contact,” Fernandes said. “I made the run and he played a great ball and I just finished it.”

Savarese said the plan was to attack immediately and the Cosmos did just that. The home side threatened right off the opening kickoff as Raúl latched onto a Walter Restrepo cross and headed off the crossbar inside the first minute. A second header by Flores rolled wide of the far post.

In the 19th minute, Freeman sent an in-swinging corner in front of the goal. Raul’s shot was blocked and, following a brief scramble, the Strikers (1-3-1 Fall, 4-5-6 Overall) cleared from danger.

“Right away we said let’s try to make sure we score early, make sure we dictate the tempo in the game,” Savarese said. “That was the mentality. I thought we did a good job in the first half to create chances and pressure them high.”

The win was big for the Cosmos (1-2-1, 6-7-1), who already clinched a playoff spot by winning the spring campaign, because it was the first game in a stretch of three in seven days.

Next up, the Cosmos host Minnesota United FC this Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“I think it’s great. It was a big win that we needed,” Fernandes said. “I’m happy we have another one on Wednesday so we can get two in a row, hopefully build off that and start performing well in the fall.”