Cosmos Prevail in Second California Match

New York’s strong first half was the difference against PDL side Fresno Fuego
Published Feb 24, 2016

FRESNO, Calif. (February 24, 2016) – New faces featured for the New York Cosmos in preseason action Wednesday night, as winger Yohandry Orozco and forward Jairo Arrieta – both signed to the team a month ago – scored four minutes apart to spark a 2-1 win over Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park.

Orozco, a 24-year-old Venezuela international, opened the scoring in the 28th minute with a spectacular individual effort. Cosmos goalkeeper Brian Holt stopped Fresno’s first shot on goal of the evening in the 27th minute, and from there the counterattack was on. It ended with Orozco scorching through the midfield, entering the 18-yard box and firing past Fuego goalkeeper Cesar Castillo.

The Fuego fought for an immediate equalizer, earning a corner kick in the 30th minute. But Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes headed away the danger, and two minutes later Arrieta added to the lead with a tap-in off a pinpoint Andrés Flores cross.

It was a retooled starting lineup for the visitors, with only four starters from Saturday’s 2-0 win against FC Ararat Yerevan asked to reprise their roles on Wednesday night. Head coach Giovanni Savarese opted for Holt as his starting goalkeeper, and the 27-year-old Nebraskan put in a clean 90 minutes. A trialist also started at right back, logging 61 minutes before being subbed off for Cosmos training guest and Croatia international Niko Kranjčar.

Like Saturday’s match, though, the coaching staff brought on a flurry of substitutes in the second half. Bolivia international Yasmani Duk, signed to the club on loan last week, made his preseason debut out of halftime. He was on target with his first shot in the 57th minute, but Castillo made the save to keep it 2-0 in favor of New York.

The Fuego halved the lead in the 69th minute through Brazilian midfielder Joao Da Rosa, capitalizing off a couple minutes of sustained pressure on the Cosmos back line.

Cosmos striker Lucky Mkosana replaced Juan Arango in the 76th minute. He would have scored his side’s third goal in the 89th minute if not for an offside ruling after some successful buildup.

In the end the scoreboard read 2-1 in New York’s favor. The Cosmos wrap up their California preseason tour with what promises to be their fiercest competition yet. Major League Soccer’s San Jose Earthquakes will welcome them to Avaya Stadium this Saturday, Feb. 27 for a 7 p.m. PT (10 p.m. ET) kickoff.

A Championship Final rematch will kick-start the Cosmos’ 2016 North American Soccer League season, as the boys in green are set to host Ottawa Fury FC at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium on Sunday, April 3. Be there to see New York begin its quest for an eighth Soccer Bowl Trophy. Secure your seats by visiting or calling 855-71-COSMOS.