Adam Moffat and Lucky Mkosana struck for first half goals to lead the New York Cosmos to a 2-1 win over Ottawa Fury FC in both team’s North American Soccer League Fall Season opener Saturday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
“He was asking for the chance to step on the field and in the end he did very well today; in the goal he scored, in the chance for the PK and toward the end he kept on fighting and battling,” Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese said about striker Lucky Mkosana. “He had a very positive game.”
Ottawa was reduced to 10 men just four minutes after kickoff when referee Geoff Gamble showed goalkeeper Romuald Peiser a straight red card. Peiser clipped Mkosana on a studs-up challenge inside the box.
Moffat stepped to the spot and put his low penalty kick to the left of substitute goalkeeper Marcel DeBellis, who replaced Peiser. Although DeBellis guessed correctly, Moffat’s shot was out of reach. It was Moffat’s third goal of the season. The Cosmos were in front, 1-0, in the ninth minute.
Ottawa had a chance to equalize in the 28th minute when Carl Haworth lined up to take a free kick from 26 yards out, But Brian Holt punched his attempt away. Seconds later, Paulo Junior put a shot on frame, but it was cleared away by Hunter Freeman.
Savarese made seven changes to his starting XI from the team that lost to the New England Revolution in the Fifth Round of the U.S. Open Cup Wednesday night. Defenders Carlos Mendes and Hunter Freeman, and midfielders Sebastian Guenzatti and Rubén Bover were the only returning starters.
“We had an important match this weekend and we wanted to make sure to do a little rotation. Last game was Wednesday, only two days before this match so we tried to use a lot of new players who were fresh and keep a good balance on the team,” Savarese said.
One of those changes was forward Lucky Mkosana, who gave the Cosmos a 2-0 lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. He managed to split a pair of defenders to latch onto a long ball over the top by defender David Ochieng and put in his volley off the bounce from the edge of the six-yard box.
DeBellis did well to deny a well-placed Yohandry Orozco’s free kick in the 62nd minute, diving to his right to get his right-hand on the 20-yard attempt.
Ottawa pulled within a goal in the first minute of second-half stoppage time when Paulo Junior knocked in the rebound of a shot saved by Cosmos goalkeeper Holt. Lance Rozeboom put the initial shot on target.
The Cosmos will hit the road next Saturday, July 9, to take on Miami FC. Kickoff is scheduled for 8 p.m.