Striker Isaac Acuna scored on either side of halftime as the New York Cosmos maintained their hold on first place in the NPSL Members Cup by recording a 2-0 victory over Michigan Stars FC at Mitchel Athletic Complex on Saturday night.
The Cosmos, who reached the midway point of their season, improved to 4-0-1 and 13 points while the Stars dropped to 0-2-1 with one point.
Left fullback Ansi Agolli and Acuna, who has three goals in his past two games, combined on both scores.
In the 23rd minute, Agolli switched the ball to his right foot and drilled the ball toward the goal. Acuna got to it just before goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva could and knocked it into the net.
Acuna gave the Cosmos some breathing room in the 87th minute. This time Agolli, an Albanian international, chipped the ball to the waiting Acuna from the left side. Acuna trapped the ball and beat Tatenda to the other side of the net for a two-goal advantage.
Cosmos goalkeeper Santiago Castano recorded the team’s fourth shutout of the Members Cup season, his third. Michigan pushed up trying to equalize in the second half and came close to scoring on defender Joseph Aidoo’s shot during a sequence off a corner kick.
On the other end of the field, the Cosmos peppered Tatenda with shots. He was outstanding in the first half, facing 12 shots and making seven saves to keep his side in the match. He started his one-man showcase with the game 100 seconds in as he denied Acuna’s header. He also stopped shots by Junior Burgos and Agolli.
New York defeated Stars FC, 2-0, in Pontiac, Mich., on August 31.
The Cosmos hit the road for a key Members Cup matchup against Detroit City FC on Saturday, September 21, at 7:30 p.m.
They return home to host Chattanooga FC at Mitchel on Saturday, September 28, at 7 p.m.
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