The New York Cosmos blanked the New York Red Bulls 3-0 in their 4th-round U.S. Open Cup match at Shuart Stadium Saturday evening.
Mads Stokkelien scored the first two goals by the Cosmos while Alessandro Noselli added an insurance marker late to clinch the win.
A very vocal crowd of 9,364 came out to see the first match between the Cosmos, defending champions of the NASL, and the Red Bulls of MLS.
“It was a strong performance by the guys in all the things that we asked them to do,” Head Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “Today was a very strong performance against a strong team.”
The Cosmos dominated play from start to finish. They outshot the visitors 21-3 and had 11 corner kicks to just one for the Red Bulls.
More importantly, the Cosmos controlled the tempo for most of the match and executed well both on offense and defense.
Stokkelien got the Cosmos off to a quick start when he scored in the eighth minute of the match. He took a precise feed from Carlos Mendes and delivered a perfectly aimed shot that landed just inside the far post and just under the cross bar.
The Cosmos had several other opportunities to increase their lead before halftime but were unable to convert. Still, the chances kept coming and the Cosmos weren’t going to let up.
“I think they were a little bit shocked by our start,” Stokkelien said. “We had a lot of chances in the first half and in the second half, I feel we kept up the play.”
They held the Red Bulls without a shot in the second half and added to their lead on Stokkelien’s second goal of the match in the 73rd minute. Daniel Szetela’s cross set up the goal.
Noselli scored on a low shot in the 78th minute to clinch the win for the Cosmos. It was the second consecutive game the Italian-born forward scored a goal.
Stokkelien was very pleased with the way the Cosmos played today. “Today for 90 minutes, I think we were the better team,” he said after the match. “I never felt that they were able to come back in the game.”
Carlos Mendes added, “It was a team effort. Everybody did well. I give a lot of credit to everyone in front of us, they made the back four’s job a lot easier. The midfielders did their job just closing everything down and closing up the space and that’s why they didn’t have many shots against us.”
Several Cosmos players had been a part of the Red Bulls organization in the past and that gave this match extra meaning for them.
“Any time you play against an organization that didn’t want you back, it’s always sweet to get a win,” said Hunter Freeman. “I had a great time there, I have no ill feelings, but at the end of the day, the only reason I left for Europe after that was because they didn’t want to re-sign me. I always use that as motivation because I felt like I did well there.”
The Cosmos now advance to the 5th round of the U.S. Open Cup and will face either the Harrisburg City Islanders or the Philadelphia Union on June 24 or 25.