Cosmos End Regular Season with Road Win
BLAINE, Minn. - The New York Cosmos ended their regular season with a 1-0 road win over Minnesota United FC at NSC Stadium thanks to a career night from Jimmy Maurer and a timely goal from the youngest player on the field, Eric Calvillo.
With the win, the Cosmos eliminated Minnesota from playoff contention and set up a matchup with Rayo OKC in The Championship semifinals next Saturday.
In the first half, Minnesota looked to attack by constantly feeding the ball toward Christian Ramirez, who leads the NASL in goals with 18. But time after time, the Cosmos defense was equal to the task. In the 18th minute, Maurer came out to catch a cross intended for Ramirez before the striker could get his head on it.
Later in the half, Maurer dove to deny a shot from Justin Davis. On the rebound, Danny Cruz fired high and wide to keep the game scoreless.
The Cosmos had chances of their own in the first half. Defender David Ochieng had multiple opportunities off headers, only to be denied by Minnesota goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock as the game remained scoreless at halftime.
The Cosmos broke through in the 49th minute. On the edge of the box, Ayoze swung a cross across the middle toward Eric Calvillo, the Cosmos 18-year-old midfielder making his first professional start. The youngster got his head on the ball and put it past Ndjock to give the Cosmos a 1-0 lead.
After that, the Cosmos did everything they could to make the one goal stand up. In the 53rd minute, Ramirez was stopped in a one-on-one chance against Maurer. On the rebound, J.C. Banks was open, but fired it wide off the goal.
In the 70th minute, the home side came within inches of scoring. On his first attempt, Davis was denied by Maurer, who dove to make the stop. On the rebound, Davis sent the ball rolling toward the net, but Cosmos defender Jimmy Mulligan came back to clear the ball off the line before Maurer made another save to force a corner kick.
After the close call, Minnesota nearly scored again in the 83rd minute when Kevin Venegas sent a header toward goal. Maurer leaped and tipped it over the bar to keep the Cosmos in front for good.
Maurer made a career-high seven saves to secure his 14th clean sheet of the season. With the win, the Cosmos end the regular season on a six match unbeaten streak heading into The Championship.
As Fall and Combined Season Champions, the Cosmos (14-5-3 Fall, 20-5-7 Combined) will be the number one seed heading into the playoffs. In The Championship semifinal matchup, the Cosmos will host four-seed Rayo OKC next Saturday, November 5 at Hofstra's James M. Shuart Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET.
About the Cosmos
The New York Cosmos are reigning champions of the North American Soccer League (NASL), having captured their second league title in three seasons and seventh overall on Nov. 15, 2015 with a 3-2 win over Ottawa Fury FC in The Championship Final at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium.
The Cosmos began play in 1971, spending 14 seasons in the NASL, winning five Soccer Bowl trophies and bringing some of the biggest names in world soccer to the USA. This included Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and Carlos Alberto. It had been nearly 30 years since the Cosmos, an iconic global soccer club, played in a professional league. Yet throughout their absence, the club maintained a loyal and dedicated fan following.
On Aug. 3, 2013, the New York Cosmos returned to the NASL with a sellout win at Shuart Stadium, before embarking on a season that would see the Cosmos win the 2013 Soccer Bowl with a 1-0 victory against the Atlanta Silverbacks on Nov. 9, 2013 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
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North American Soccer League Stories from October 29, 2016
- Cosmos End Regular Season with Road Win - New York Cosmos
- RECAP |United Plays for Final Time in Front of Home Crowd at NSC Stadium - Minnesota United FC
- Rayo OKC Clinches Final Postseason Berth Thanks to Cosmos Victory - NASL
- Match Recap: RailHawks Fall 2-1 to Puerto Rico FC in Final Game of the Season - North Carolina FC
- MATCH RECAP: Fury FC Edged in Final Game of the Season - Ottawa Fury FC
- Strikers' End Successful 2016 - Fort Lauderdale Strikers
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