Cosmos Begin Title Defense With Clean Sheet

Andrés Alexander Flores Mejía battles for the ball against Ottawa. (Photo via NYCosmos.com)
Andrés Alexander Flores Mejía battles for the ball against Ottawa. (Photo via NYCosmos.com)
Andrés Alexander Flores Mejía battles for the ball against Ottawa. (Photo via NYCosmos.com)

The defending champs returned home and appear ready to take a run at another title.

Led by Juan Arango’s brace, the New York Cosmos started the 2016 North American Soccer League season with a 3-0 win over Ottawa Fury FC Sunday night at Shuart Stadium.

An attacking midfielder, Arango talled in twice in the first half to give New York an early advantage.

“Any player dreams of having a great debut,” he told NYCosmos.com. “Even better when you can score two goals. It’s a dream.”

Combining with fellow newcomer Jairo Arrieta and returning midfielders Sebastian Guenzatti and Andrés Flores, Arango scored twice in a two-minute span late in the first half.

Arrieta beat Ottawa goalkeeper Romuald Peiser in a race for a loose ball and crossed in front to Arango, who easily buried the ball into the open net to put the Cosmos in front, 1-0, in the 36th minute. Two minutes later Arango had his second, tapping into the empty net after Peiser spilled a low Sebastian Guenzatti cross.

“Arango had a very good game,” said Giovanni Savarese, Cosmos’ head coach. “He was smart in finding spaces and getting those balls in the right area to be able to score.”

Midfielder Adam Moffat, who came on as a second half substitute Ruben Bover, scored from 45-yards out to give New York a 3-0 lead.

Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made four saves to preserve the clean sheet.