For the second straight year, the New York Cosmos beat New York City Football Club in the U.S. Open Cup in dramatic fashion, as they won 1-0 in the fourth round of the tournament on Wednesday night at Fordham University’s Coffey Field.
This is the only time NYC FC, which plays in the MLS, and the Cosmos of the NASL can meet, as the U.S. Open Cup is open to teams in all leagues.
Danny Szetela scored the only goal of the game in the 88th minute. Szetela latched onto a cross from the right on a quick counter and headed from just inside the six-yard box for the game’s lone goal.
Eirik Johansen made his first start of the season in goal for NYC FC, and he turned away seven shots.
Although NYCFC had the edge in possession, Johansen was the busier of the two goalkeepers in the first half, pushing aside a shot from 14 yards out by Juan Arango six minutes into the game and denying Yohandry Orozco nine minutes later.
Diego Martinez nearly put NYCFC when his swerving left-footed shot from distance handcuffed Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, who parried away for a corner kick in the 54th minute.
Two minutes later, Mix Diskerud latched onto a Martinez cross at the back post, but his downward header was wide of the net.
In the 73rd minute, Patrick Mullins beat Maurer to a long ball, but Hunter Freeman of the Cosmos cleared it from the near post.
Mullins said of his scoring chance, “Yeah, taking another look at it, I think it was a tough angle at the end-line and I saw Poku and I was trying to get my left foot on the ball to get it to him, but credit to the defender, he made a nice tackle and those are just the margins of the night. They finished their chance and we didn’t, so here we are.”
NYC FC Head Coach Patrick Vieira said of the ability to lose to any opponent in soccer, “You can lose any kind of game, you can lose against the Red Bulls, you can lose against the Cosmos, you can lose against Philadelphia, you can lose against any team in football. I think if you play from the way we perform, you will lose against any team. And it’s not about the Cosmos, it’s about us and the way we perform. Of course as the manager, as the coach, I’m the one who made the selection and that I am the first one to put my hand in the air and to say yes, I made a mistake when I made the decision to rest so many players and I am the first responsible for the performance of the players. But at the same time, I strongly believe the players didn’t perform today and that is unacceptable.”
Vieira rested many of his starters for this one, as they were playing on astro turf and they have an MLS game on Saturday at Yankee Stadium against Philadelphia.
Vieira said of why he chose to rest so many of the regular starters, “The hand was tied but at the end you just have to focus game after game. I’m a little disappointed, yes, because I gave some players a chance to perform, to show me that they deserved to play more and they didn’t show it today. And that’s why I’m quite really frustrated, because the trust I had in them, they didn’t have it back. It’s difficult for me to accept. My focus was on the game, and now that the game is over we can think about Philadelphia.”
Vieira said of why the team didn’t perform well, “I think in football, the most difficult thing is to keep the game simple. And to allow yourself to keep the game simple, you have to be a little more humble. I don’t think tonight we had the humility to win that game or to make the right decision at the right time.”
Mullins said of how frustrating the loss is, “I’m not happy about it at all. I take it personally. All of the guys take it personally but at the end of the day, it’s just very disappointing right now.”
On if he felt like NYCFC was the better team, “It’s tough to say, but like I said, they finished the chances they had and we didn’t.”
Mullins said of how this team overcomes this stretch of not getting results, “I really think it’s just putting the ball over the line and just making those critical plays and as I’ve said, they took their chances and we didn’t.”