Defending National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) Champion New York Cosmos B clinched the 2016 NPSL North Atlantic Conference Championship as they drew with Brooklyn Italians SC by a score of 1-1 at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Wednesday evening.
“They had a lot of pride,” said Cosmos B Head Coach Fernando Barboto. “The Brooklyn Italians are a great club [with] a lot of tradition, and they showed that they’re never not going to show up to a game like this.”
The draw earned Cosmos B their 35th point in league play, which put them six points ahead of Boston City FC at the time of publishing.
Even if Boston City were to force a tiebreaker situation by earning all six points in their remaining two matches this weekend coupled with a Cosmos B defeat on Sunday, Cosmos B would still hold the second NPSL tiebreaker, which is goal differential in head-to-head matchups. In their two matchups this season, New York won 3-1 on May 1 and lost to Boston City 3-2 on June 8, thus resulting in a +1 goal differential.
Cosmos B found themselves down early on as Brooklyn created an early chance to open up the scoring. A ball was played into the box that drew Hector Guerrero out of his six-yard box to try to make a play. But, Simen Hestnes of the Italians got the ball and drove it toward net. Some Cosmos B defenders attempted to get a body on the ball but it was too late as a ball bounced in to open the score at 1-0.
Cosmos B answered back about ten minutes later. In the 19th minute, Alejandro Mitrano played a ball along the near sideline and crossed it over to Franklin Castellanos. Castellanos rocketed a hard shot that was saved by a diving Michael Bernardi. However while Bernardi was down, Matias Ruiz was there to field the rebound and knocked it in to the vacant upper right corner of the net to equalize the match at 1-1.
The second half was defined by chances for Cosmos B as they dominated possessions and created many opportunities for a goal that would break the 1-1 tie. Substitute Shaun Russell created multiple opportunities in the push for a game-winner in the last five minutes, but Cosmos B would be unable to convert any of the chances as the match finished in a 1-1 tie.
“I thought we created chances to score,” said Coach Barboto. “We didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. [Goalkeeper Michael Bernardi] had a very strong game. [This is] a game we dominated, I thought we should’ve won but we didn’t.”
There were not many tactical changes seen from the Cosmos B side as only two were made. Coach Barboto explained that he did not want to toy with what appeared to be working on the pitch.
“We thought we were playing well. We thought we had the ball, we possessed, we attacked, and we got to the flanks. There wasn’t a lot I thought we needed to change, but we made some substitutes that almost paid dividends at the end with speed and fresh legs.”
With a conference title in hand, Cosmos B will look to their final regular season match against Kingston Stockade FC. Kickoff is slated for 4 pm ET on Sunday, July 10 at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.