Cosmos Drop First Game in NISA Fall Tournament

Published Sep 22, 2020
Despite enjoying a huge possession advantage, the New York Cosmos dropped their opening game of the National Independent Soccer Association Fall Tournament, losing to the Cal United Strikers, 2-0, at Keyworth Stadium on Tuesday evening.
Christian Thierjung scored one goal and helped set up another for the Strikers.
New York outshot Cal United, 18-11, and placed seven shot on target, compared to its foes' six.
The Cosmos dominated the opening half but had nothing to show as the Strikers grabbed a 1-0 lead against the run of play.
In the 39th minute Thierjung latched onto a through ball and forced a diving Cosmos goalkeeper Jesse Corke to knock the ball away with his right hand. Teenager Shane Kaemerle slotted the rebound home from 10 yards with Corke on the ground.
With former Albanian international Ansi Agolli whipping in crosses from the left wing, the Cosmos had several close encounters in front of the Cal United goal.
Their best chances came from Charlie Ledula. In the fifth minute, Ledula headed a six-yard attempt over the crossbar before he forced goalkeeper Steven Barrera to make a save from his shot from outside the box in the 16th minute.
Thierjung doubled the Strikers' lead as he ran onto another through ball, this time converting from inside the box for a 2-0 margin in the 61st minute.
The Cosmos continued to attack but could not find the net or solve Barrera.
Forward Shavon John-Brown stripped a Striker of the ball but wound up sending his attempt wide left in the 69th minute. Second-half substitute John Denis, who made his professional debut, blooped a try over the crossbar in the 71st minute. Another sub, Giuseppe Barone, took a shot that went through a defender's legs to Barrera in the 83rd minute before Barrera saved Darwin Espinal's 20-yard attempt four minutes later.
Cal United is coached by Don Ebert, who was selected by the Cosmos as the first pick of the 1979 North American Soccer League draft.
The Cosmos will meet Chattanooga FC on Friday at 5 p.m. before closing out the group stage against the Los Angeles Force on Monday, Sept. 28 at 8 p.m.