Ayoze’s Brace Leads Cosmos Past PRFC 4-1

New York score twice in each half to earn largest win of season
Published Oct 18, 2017

The New York Cosmos scored early and often to defeat Puerto Rico FC 4-1 on Wednesday night at Central Broward Stadium in Lauderhill, FL. 

The win, paired with Jacksonville Armada FC’s 1-1 draw against FC Edmonton, puts the Cosmos in sole possession of the fourth and final playoff spot in the NASL with 41 points in the Combined Standings. Jacksonville sits fifth with 39 points.

“It was a great result. We needed this result,” said Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director Giovanni Savarese. “We did a lot of good things today, we found the goals with the opportunities, and I’m pleased with the performance.”

The first half saw the Cosmos get the better of the chances and take advantage of them. In the 20th minute, Jimmy Mulligan got a shot from the edge of the box, but was denied by the crossbar, as the game remained scoreless. 

Less than 15 minutes later, Pablo Vranjicán was taken down outside the box to give New York a free kick in a dangerous position. Ayoze made the most of it by putting the free kick over the wall and past diving Puerto Rico FC goalkeeper, Austin Pack, to give the Cosmos a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute.

The Cosmos quickly doubled the lead six minutes later as Juan Guerra found Eugene Starikov with a cross inside the box. The Ukrainian brought it down and, with his back to the goal, finished the play with a tremendous bicycle kick to put the Cosmos up 2-0.

Puerto Rico nearly got one back before the break as Emery Welshman’s blast went high above Cosmos goalkeeper, Jimmy Maurer, and over the bar for a goal kick, giving the Cosmos a 2-0 lead at the half. 

In the 56th minute, Puerto Rico FC again almost cut into the lead as Mario Martínez found a teammate for a header in the box, but the strike from Welshman was stopped by Maurer to keep the clean sheet alive.

With a steady rain falling in the 73rd minute, the Cosmos added to the advantage as Starikov found Bledi Bardic with a perfect through ball inside the box and the Montenegrin buried a low shot past Pack to make it 3-0. The goal was Bardic’s second in nine games for the Cosmos.                                                      

Ayoze completed his brace a few minutes later by converting a penalty kick as Pack dove the wrong way, giving New York a 4-0 lead.

Puerto Rico FC got on the score sheet late in the game as substitute, Jorge Rivera, received a pass from Rudy Dawson and scored to cut the New York lead to 4-1 in the 89th minute. 

The two goals for Ayoze marks his first brace in a Cosmos uniform and puts him in a three-way tie for third on the club in scoring with five goals. Starikov recorded a goal and an assist for the first time with New York. The three-goal win is the biggest margin of victory for the Cosmos this season.

“It was a positive match,” Savarese said. “Not only because of the result, but also because of the way the guys played the match.”

On Sunday afternoon, the Cosmos will play their final road game of the Regular Season with a pivotal matchup against Jacksonville Armada FC set to kickoff at 4:00 pm. With a win against fifth-place Jacksonville, the Cosmos could clinch a spot in The Championship.

The Cosmos return to MCU Park on Saturday, October 28 for their home finale against Puerto Rico FC at 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, click here.