By New York Cosmos
Striker Aaron Dennis connected for a first-half brace and Bledi Bardic added an insurance goal to lead the New York Cosmos to a 3-1 victory over Chattanooga FC in NPSL Members Cup action at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Saturday night.
The victory solidified the Cosmos’ (5-0-2, 17 points) lead atop the league while Chattanooga FC, which entered the match in second place, dropped to 3-3-2 with 11 points.
Chattanooga FC drew first blood in the 12th minute when Joao Costa ran down the left side and fired a shot from outside the penalty area past goalkeeper Santiago Castano.
The Cosmos equalized on a pretty play in the 28th minute. Darwin Espinal launched a through ball to a speeding Shavon John-Brown on the right flank. John-Brown, making his Cosmos debut, managed to coax goalkeeper Phillip D’Amico out of the net before crossing the ball to Dennis. The Elmont, NY native slid the ball into the unattended goal for a 1-1 deadlock.
Dennis struck for his second goal in the 40th minute in what was essentially a mirror image of his first score. Darwin again started the scoring sequence, only this time he led Ansi Agolli down the left side. Agolli raced into the area and crossed to Dennis, who slipped the ball home for a 2-1 advantage.
After Bardic replaced Dennis in the 70th minute, the veteran striker snapped a long personal scoreless streak by putting home a Pedro Galvao feed from the left side in the 80th minute to give the hosts some much-needed breathing room.
With the game still on the line in the 71st minute, Castano made a pair of back-to-back kick saves on Garcia and Juan Hernandez.
The Cosmos will be in action next against the Milwaukee Torrent on Saturday, October 5th at 7:00 pm.
They return home to play Detroit City FC in their final Members Cup match of the season at Mitchel on Saturday, October 12th at 7:00 pm.
Photos Courtesy of New York Cosmos