Cosmos Close Regular Season With Road Win

Strong defense gives New York win in final trip to Minnesota.
Published Oct 29, 2016

BLAINE, Minn. (October 29, 2016) – The New York Cosmos ended their regular season with a 1-0 road win over Minnesota United FC at NSC Stadium thanks to a career night from Jimmy Maurer and a timely goal from the youngest player on the field, Eric Calvillo.

With the win, the Cosmos eliminated Minnesota from postseason contention and set up a matchup with Rayo OKC in The Championship Semifinals next Saturday.

In the first half, Minnesota looked to attack by constantly feeding the ball toward Christian Ramirez, who leads the NASL in goals with 18. But time after time, the Cosmos defense was equal to the task. In the 18th minute, Maurer came out to catch a cross intended for Ramirez before the striker could get his head on it.

Later in the half, Maurer dove to deny a shot from Justin Davis. On the rebound, Danny Cruz fired high and wide to keep the game scoreless.

The Cosmos had chances of their own in the first half. Defender David Ochieng had multiple opportunities off headers, only to be denied by Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock as the game remained scoreless at halftime.

The Cosmos broke through in the 49th minute. On the edge of the box, Ayoze swung a cross across the middle toward Calvillo, the Cosmos' 18-year-old midfielder making his first professional start. The youngster got his head on the ball and put it past Ndjock to give the Cosmos a 1-0 lead.

After that, the Cosmos did everything they could to make the one goal stand up. In the 53rd minute, Ramirez was stopped in a 1-on-1 chance against Maurer. On the rebound, J.C. Banks was open, but fired it wide off the goal.

In the 70th minute, the home side came within inches of scoring. On his first attempt, Davis was denied by Maurer, who dove to make the stop. On the rebound, Davis sent the ball rolling toward the net, but Cosmos defender Jimmy Mulligan came back to clear the ball off the line before Maurer made another save to force a corner kick.

After the close call, Minnesota nearly scored again in the 83rd minute when Kevin Venegas sent a header toward goal. Maurer leaped and tipped it over the bar to keep the Cosmos in front for good.

Maurer made a career-high seven saves to secure his 14th clean sheet of the season. With the win, the Cosmos end the regular season on a six match unbeaten streak heading into The Championship.

As Fall and Combined Season Champions, the Cosmos (14-5-3 Fall, 20-5-7 Combined) will be the No. 1 seed heading into the postseason. In The Championship Semifinal matchup, the Cosmos will host No. 4 seed Rayo OKC next Saturday, November 5 at Hofstra’s James M. Shuart Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.