Summer weather finally arrived in New York City Saturday night as New York Cosmos B defeated the Seacoast United Phantoms 1-0 at the Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium at Columbia University’s Baker Athletic Complex.
After a cagey first five minutes to the game, Cosmos B asserted themselves in possession as they attacked the Seacoast United defense down the flanks in an effort to make the victors from New Hampshire chase the game on the hot and humid 85-degree evening in northern Manhattan.
Mohammed Rashid was the danger man for Cosmos B early on as he rampaged down the left side, pulling United’s defense out of position.
Cosmos B head coach Kevin Anderson credited the play of Rashid and Christian Theirjung for New York’s ability to stretch the Seacoast United defense.
“We were able to (attack) pretty well in the first half, especially down the flanks,” said Anderson. “Christian’s ability, and Rhys Williams’ ability to get forward with Christian caused them to overbalance on one flank which gave Rashid on the other flank the opportunity to take advantage.”
Williams’ attacking work from defense proved to be crucial as he earned a penalty for New York in the 18th minute.
Making one of his excellent runs down the right side, Williams entered the 18-yard box and was barreled over by a Seacoast United defender. The referee made no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Lucas Coutinho stepped up for Cosmos B and placed his penalty shot perfectly into the low, left corner, past diving United goalkeeper William Sinibaldi, giving New York the 1-0 lead.
Despite the possession advantage that saw New York create numerous chances, Cosmos B were unable to add to their lead.
“We limited their opportunities and we created enough,” Anderson said. “I don’t think that we optimized our opportunities.”
That inability to secure another goal almost proved disastrous late in the first half as Seacoast United had their best scoring opportunity of the game.
United’s Abdulkadir Haji found space in the six-yard box, taking a low cross from the right side. Haji took the ball first-time with his right foot and his effort beat Cosmos B goalkeeper Hector Guerrero but smacked off the crossbar.
The second half saw New York gain in strength and confidence as they controlled the play. Armed with a slim lead and deploying nearly its entire roster, Cosmos B looked to outwork Seacoast United.
With rotating their players, New York played the ball on the ground more often, aiming to tire Seacoast United as they chased the game in the heat.
“This is the hottest night so far,” said Anderson. “It’s humid and you have tons of things to take into consideration. You got to listen to your guys. When they’re saying that they’re having a hard time with the pollen and breathing, we have 18 guys and we went to 16 out of the 18.”
Despite a tumultuous off season, Cosmos B seem to have found their footing and now have won four in a row.
“The character of the group is good, it’s coming together,” said Anderson. “No excuses, but we got a late start. Everyone is about a month or so ahead of us because of everything that went on with ownership and the franchise. We’re really now only a month and a half into this thing. We’re starting to now look a little bit more like a team.”
Cosmos B look to make in five on the trot as they host New York Athletic Club Tuesday, June 13th at 8:00 pm.