In a hard fought, physical contest at Mitchel Field, New York Cosmos B defeated Clarkstown SC Eagles 2-0 to clinch the NPSL Northeast Region Championship on Saturday night.
“This was a tough game, we knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We knew they had a lot of quality and experience on their team. We simply outworked them today. That was the plan,” Cosmos B head coach Alecko Eskandarian said. “The guys followed the game plan and they executed. They were very organized.”
Cosmos B got off to a fast start on their home field. In the fourth minute, Miguel Herlein blasted a goal from 19 yards out past Clarkstown goalkeeper Bryan Lopez to give Cosmos B the early lead.
New York kept the pressure on the Clarkstown back end for most of the first half, and after a couple close calls, the home squad was able to convert again.
In the 34th minute, Ruben Bover made a strong run into the Clarkstown box. Near the endline, Bover slid the ball to Herlein in the middle, and the Cosmos leading scorer finished into a vacant net to double his team’s lead.
With the two goals on Saturday, Herlein currently has 14 goals to lead Cosmos B. Herlein was also named Man of the Match.
“I’m very happy that both goals were team goals, everyone really stepped up and did their job,” Eskandarian said.
After Cosmos B took the 2-0 lead into halftime, the second half proved to be more of the same. Cosmos B kept attacking to try and find a third goal while Clarkstown tried to get on the scoreboard.
In the 59th minute, Cosmos B goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck was knocked down while trying to catch a ball. After briefly lying on the grass, Zobeck got back to his feet to the delight of the crowd.
Minutes later, Zobeck used one hand to deflect away a Clarkstown chance. In the 86th minute, Zobeck again had to make a strong save. He stopped a close shot from Andreas Chronis before the rebound was knocked wide. Zobeck finished the game with a clean sheet for New York.
“We’re always very lucky to have Kyle with us,” Eskandarian said. “Anytime he joins us, we’re blessed to have the best goalkeeper in the league. He’s a guy that has a very bright future in professional soccer.”
The victory for Cosmos B continues an impressive inaugural season. Cosmos B has not lost a game so far, and they have scored 51 goals while allowing just seven. They hope to continue that streak in next week’s national semifinal.
“I imagine it’s going to be another tough game,” Eskandarian said. We’ll just get back to the drawing board, work our butts off, and prepare for our next opponent.”
Coming in as the top seed in the country, Cosmos B will host the semifinal in front of their fans, and that is an advantage that they are thrilled to own.
“It’s huge. We knew that going into this season,” Eskandarian said of the home field advantage. “At the end of the day, the ball is round, it doesn’t matter what field you’re playing on, you still have to put the work in.”
Cosmos B will host their national semifinal match on Saturday, August 1.