Both New York Cosmos teams are unbeaten so far this season, the B team winning 1-0 before the first team played at Hofstra on Saturday.
The game against New York Athletic Club was won by an early free kick from Cristian Hernandez, and head coach Alecko Eskandarian was delighted with the defensive display in their fourth match, having conceding three on the road last week.
“It was definitely a hard-fought victory, against a difficult team to play against, with older, more experienced, physical guys,” he said. “It was great experience for our teenagers even though they got roughed up a little bit. This is going to help their development a lot. It was a tough, physical game but we knew that going into it. We are very proud of the guys for showing their resilience and managing the game the right way, to first of all get the shutout and also the three points.”
Hernandez curled in a beautiful free kick from just over 20 yards out after only seven minutes to make it 1-0, and that was the way it stayed.
In the 23rd minute Kevin Strunk headed harmlessly wide for New York Athletic Club, as both sides struggled to threaten goal. Ciaran McGuigan shot well off target from distance for the visitors five minutes later.
The Cosmos’ Anthony Asante found himself up against the last defender in the box in the 31st minute, but his shot on the turn lacked power and Zachary Carr gathered comfortably. A brilliant through ball from Hernandez put Haji Wright through on goal four minutes later and he tried the lob, but it floated over.
There was a heated exchange after a challenge in the 37th minute, and a player from each side was shown a yellow card by referee Yevgeny Mednikov – Dane Murphy for Cosmos B, and Ciaran McGuigan for Athletic Club. Bernardo Ulmo spurned a golden chance to put the visitors level a minute before the break when he blazed over, and he found time to pick up a booking for a foul before the whistle.
The Cosmos had the first chance after the restart, when a neat passing move led to a cross from Julian Stahler which Asante headed over after 57 minutes. NYAC substitute Robert Cabrera was booked for a push in the 65th minute, and George Stannard headed just off target for them in the 77th minute. Two minutes later, Wright went down in the box following a fine move, but the referee waved away the penalty appeal.
Cosmos goalkeeper Jonathan Morales was shown a yellow card for timewasting in the 86th minute, and substitute Gonzalo Rodriguez also earned a booking with a minute to go. In added time, another substitute, Brian Cunningham, did well to pick out Travis Pittman but his shot was blocked.
The Cosmos B team are without a game now until Saturday, June 13, when they face Seacoast United Phantoms in New Hampshire. They will then take on Greater Lowell United in Massachusetts the next day.
Eskandarian revealed what the team will do with the time: “We will train, finally. We will get to work on some stuff. “Our roster has changed a bit in the last few weeks. Now we have our core group we will finally be able to get some nice training sessions in and we won’t have to worry about a game.”