Matias Ruiz shone the brightest on a sun-splashed afternoon in upstate New York.
The New York Cosmos B midfielder’s two goals and an assist led the visitors to a 4-2 victory over Kingston Stockade FC on Saturday afternoon at Dietz Stadium in Kingston.
Things would start out cagey as the teams tried to feel out each other and navigate the 85-degree heat. “The heat was a big factor for both teams,” said Cosmos B head coach Fernando Barboto.
20 minutes into the contest, Cosmos B would begin to find their footing. As they started to earn a lion’s share of the possession through the midfield, New York would get the breakthrough in the 25th minute.
Following a particularly hectic moment as both teams quickly exchanged possession, the ball would find itself at the feet of Ivan Berterame. The Cosmos B No. 9 would slip the ball behind the Kingston defense finding Ruiz in the penalty area, who easily slotted home past Stockade FC goalkeeper Steve Skonieczny.
“The way they approached the game led us to possess more,” Barboto said. “They dropped their backline real deep and that allowed us to possess the ball. It really allowed us to move the ball left to right and not have to force ourselves to go vertically.”
Primarily attacking the left side of the Stockade FC defense, the interplay between Ruiz and midfielder Michael Holzer, combined with the overlapping runs of right back Klye McTurk would set up the visitors for their second goal.
Cosmos B would take a 2-0 lead 38 minutes in off a set piece orchestrated by Ruiz. After being taken down 25 yards from goal, the New York midfielder’s out-swinging free kick would find the head of Alejandro Mitrano, who beat Skonieczny near post.
Michael Creswick would get Stockade FC on the board in the 50th minute, cutting the Cosmos B lead to 2-1. Continuing their strategy of playing long balls to their tall striker, Kingston was finally able to make it work as Creswick found himself in a one-on-one situation with a New York defender. The Englishmen was able to beat his man and finish past Cosmos B goalkeeper Hector Guerrero causing the nice-sized Kingston crowd to roar in delight.
Before Stockade FC fans could really settle in after Creswick’s goal, Cosmos B answered three minutes later as Ruiz would get his second of the afternoon re-establishing New York’s two-goal lead. Another team move down the right side, Ruiz would make another slashing run from midfield connecting on a cross from the wing to put Cosmos B up 3-1 in the 53rd minute.
Seemingly annoyed that his team had just gone back down by two goals, Creswick would get his second of the game seconds after the restart to cut Cosmos B’s lead to 3-2.
After the three-goals-in-five-minutes explosion, the pace of play would slow down greatly as both teams began to succumb to the heat in the later stages of the second half.
“We were worried about that and it took a toll on us at the end,” Barbato said. “I started making subs for that reason primarily. I thought that our players were playing well and we didn’t need a tactical change, but the heat made us change personnel.”
With Ruiz subbed out of the game, Cosmos B would look towards midfielder Franklin Castellanos to maintain possession and see out the win.
In the 89th minute, it would be Castellanos who would orchestrate the finally tally of the day. The Cosmos B playmaker chipped the ball into the box from the left side, finding Per Eik Forgaard, who volleyed the cross in from close range to make the score 4-2.
The win sees New York stay atop the NPSL Atlantic Conference standings with 25 points through 11 games. Stockade FC have their record fall below the .500 mark with 11 points in nine games.