Cosmos Fail To Sink Armada, Draw At Home

Jacques Delaugère

By Matthew Klimberg

CONEY ISLAND, NY – On Saturday night, the New York Cosmos returned home to MCU Park after a week off as they hosted the first-place Jacksonville Armada. Against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and under low-lying clouds, the Cosmos failed to earn their first home victory of the season in their second opportunity as they settled for a 1-1 draw in front of 3,605 fans.

The early part of the match was marked by multiple missed offensive chances from the hosts. Amidst numerous slips on the temporary soccer field, Eugene Starikov led the way in the final third with speed and agility. The Cosmos’ best opportunity came in the 8th minute from a Walter Restrepo chance off a free kick, necessitating a goal line clearance by the visitors.

The match found its offensive spark in the 22nd minute as the home crowd was treated to a clinical goal. Coming out of midfield, David Ochieng sent a gorgeous outlet pass to Restrepo who was streaking down the left side of the attacking zone. The midfielder cut to his right and found Javi Marquez on the right side of the box as the Catalan pulled his shot past Armada goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell and into the net. The goal was the first the Cosmos have scored at MCU Park this season.

Jacksonville got their first real offensive opportunity in the 32nd minute when Karen Ryder drilled a headed corner past Jimmy Maurer, but just wide right of the net. On the Cosmos’ ensuing offensive drive, the Ukrainian forward, Starikov, nearly doubled the lead with a shot from the right side of the box that Patterson-Sewell deftly parried away with his right hand. The half ended with the hosts in front 1-0.

The opening 20 minutes of the second half matched the falling temperature as both clubs struggled to generate much flow. The Armada seemed to find their sea-legs in the in the 65th minute as Maurer was required to make an aerobatic save in front of the Cosmos’ supporters section. Only a minute later, forward J.C. Banks beat Maurer with a curling shot to level the match and quiet the crowd.

The onslaught didn’t stop there as the Cosmos’ goalkeeper continued to face a barrage from the Armada. However, a combination of luck and skill kept the visitors off the scoreboard as the match stayed even until the final whistle. The draw moved the Cosmos to 1-1-2 (8 points) and kept them in the middle of the standings. Next, they travel to San Francisco to take on the expansion Deltas on Saturday.