Cosmos Take First Place With Home Win

A second-half strike from Hunter Freeman pushes New York past Minnesota 2-1 at Shuart Stadium.
Published Aug 5, 2015
By Cosmos News Service

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (August 5, 2015) – A late long-distance golazo by Hunter Freeman helped lift the New York Cosmos to a 2-1 win over Minnesota United FC Wednesday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

It was Freeman’s second goal in as many games. While there was some doubt whether the fullback was going for goal on a ball served toward the back post in a 2-0 win over Fort Lauderdale Sunday, there was no doubt as to what Freeman was doing in the 76th minute.

“It was really an amazing shot, excellent, beautiful goal,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said after the match. “He has a great shot and this time he felt it very well.”

Freeman briefly settled an attempted clearance before unleashing a rocket from 25 yards inside the upper right corner of the net to put the Cosmos in front, 2-1.

“I had one goal that was similar early in my career when I played for Colorado in Dallas, in front of my family,” Freeman said. “It was a volley, but that was a lot closer. I think this one takes the cake."

Freeman knew as soon as he hit it, he had a goal. And when it went in, he also knew what would follow as this goal was in stark contrast to Sunday's score.

“After I celebrated, I saw all the questions coming already,” Freeman said. “It’s funny. Look, as a defender, you take a goal however you can get it. To score two goals in a row in two games, you’ll take that.”

Minnesota United (2-2-2) raced in front in the eighth minute on Christian Ramirez’s seventh goal of the season. Following a short corner, Kalif Alhassan crossed the ball in front where Daniel Mendes flicked it on at the near post. Ramirez crashed the back post and tapped in to put the visitors ahead, 1-0.

The Cosmos (2-2-1) leveled five minutes later on Walter Restrepo’s third goal of the fall season. Leo Fernandes made a penetrating run before slipping a pass to Andrés Flores, who cut a ball back into the box. Restrepo's attempt eluded Minnesota goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt.

“We feel really confident in establishing opportunities to score,” Restrepo said. “Even though they scored a goal early, we felt very confident that we'd have our chance. We were able to do that.”

Three minutes later, Flores put a shot on frame, but Hildebrandt did well to parry it over the crossbar for a Cosmos corner. The Loons goalkeeper did the same to deny Carlos Mendes on a header inside the box in the 25th minute.

The Cosmos continued to press for the go-ahead goal after halftime, but Hildebrandt made a tremendous diving save on a Lucky Mkosana toe-poke in the 50th minute and then got a piece of a Carlos Mendes header from the edge of the six-yard box in the 64th minute.

Finally, Freeman broke the deadlock with a brilliant strike to secure three points at home for a second consecutive game.

Raúl nearly added an insurance goal in the fifth minute of second-half stoppage time, but his clever chip was just over the crossbar.

“I thought today, especially in the second half, we showed a lot of character, we showed a strong team that battled every ball and created a lot of chances,” Savarese said. “I was very content with what we produced in the second half.”

The Cosmos will play their third game in a seven-day span when they take on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers Saturday night at Lockhart Stadium.

“For us it's good to have three games in a week because then we get the rhythm that we didn’t have,” Andrés Flores said. “That’s where you get the confidence. The wins get you confidence.”