Mulligan, Ochieng Record First Goals

Defensive duo break through on offense for Cosmos
Published Oct 30, 2017
A successful team needs to have depth to succeed. Just ask the New York Cosmos players.
“We’ve had deep teams in the past and that’s what makes us so great,” defender, Jimmy Mulligan, said. “Anybody on this roster can come in and start.”
“Guys have stepped in and done a great job,” captain, Carlos Mendes, said. “I think we have the talent and the quality to be successful.”
The current Cosmos squad showed its depth in Sunday afternoon’s road match at Jacksonville Armada FC as four different players recorded a goal in a 4-4 draw. Three players scored their first goal of the season in the game, and for a duo of defenders, the goals were a long time coming.
Down 1-0 just four minutes into the game, New York wasted little time in getting an equalizer.
Three minutes later, the Cosmos had the ball and defender David Ochieng made the run of his career, getting through the defense and going one-on-one with Jacksonville goalkeeper, Caleb Patterson-Sewell.
“Their line was high so I decided to just try and run and see if [Emmanuel Ledesma] could get the ball to me,” Ochieng said. “He gave me a perfect ball. I just waited for the right time to strike it.”
His strike was a big one. It not only tied the game, but it was the first of Ochieng’s Cosmos career in his 29th Regular Season game. The last time Ochieng scored a goal was with the Kenyan national team against Zambia in 2015.
The defender’s first goal in two years was one to remember, and Ochieng called it the goal of his career.
“I’ve never scored a better goal than that,” he said. “I think that’s my best ogal because most of my goals were from corner kicks. I’ve never ran from the defense all the way to the keeper like that before.”
“It was really funny seeing him go,” Mulligan said of Ochieng. “It was way more difficult than it looked he did a great job there.”
For Mulligan, watching his fellow defender score his first of the season was inspiring, and he would take that to heart in the second half as the Cosmos climbed back from a 3-1 halftime deficit.
“Once I saw [Ochieng] do it, I figured anyone else could do it if it was coming from him,” Mulligan said.
In the 77th minute, Mulligan got his shot, literally.
“I saw [Ledesma] wide. I decided to cut in because the defender who was defending me decided to cheat a little bit,” Mulligan said. “I had space, saw the keeper was over near the post a little bit so I decided to take the shot an luckily it went in.”
For Mulligan, the goal was his first in 47 NASL Regular Season games for the Cosmos as well as his first professional goal at any level. Before Sunday’s strike, Mulligan said the last time he scored in a game was during his senior year at St. John’s University in 2013.
Mulligan’s goal briefly gave New York a 4-3 lead before the game finished level 4-4 as New York earned a crucial point in the Combined Standings.
The goals from Ochieng and Mulligan give Cosmos defenders nine combined goals on the season, led by five from Ayoze. That sets a club-high for goals from the defense in the Regular Season, topping the previous mark of eight set by the 2014 squad.
While scoring from the defense may be unlikely at times, it certainly helps a team be successful.
“Everyone on the field has to be good on the ball and be ready to score if the chance comes,” Mulligan said. “If you have the chance to score and help get your team in the game, then that’s what you want to do.”