The New York Cosmos were in control for much of their match against FC Edmonton Sunday afternoon, but a pair of quick goals lifted the home side to a 2-1 win and nixed the Cosmos’ chances of leaving Clarke Field with a result.
Eddies defender Papé Diakité headed home the match-winner off a free kick in the 74th minute, snapping the defending NASL champions’ two-game winning streak.
“We created chances,” said Giovanni Savarese, Cosmos Head Coach. “We had opportunities, but the reality was that our play in the second half wasn’t the same as the first half.”
Against the run of play, FC Edmonton (3-2-2) became the first team this season to take a first-half lead against the Cosmos (4-0-3). Midfielder Jason Plumhoff latched onto a Dustin Corea long ball and put a low shot inside the far post in the 13th minute.
Three minutes after Hunter Freeman put a corner kick off the back post, Yohandry Orozco leveled for the Cosmos in the 22nd minute. Jairo Arrieta cut back to create and found Orozco with a square ball across the 18-yard box. The Venezuelan put his low shot inside the far post from 14 yards out for his second goal of the season.
“When the team is on the right track we’re able to create some good plays, some special situations,” Savarese said. “We have players who can make a difference. With Orozco, we’re seeing more and more of his quality each game. He’s still not [playing] to the best of his abilities.”
The Cosmos nearly took the lead in the 40th minute. Ayoze played Michael Lahoud behind cleverly, but his curled shot was wide of the far post. In first-half stoppage time, Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer did well diving left to parry away a Corea free kick from 30 yards.
Juan Arango got behind the Eddies defense in the 57th minute, but FC Edmonton goalkeeper Matt VanOekel came off his line to make the save.
After Diakité’s goal, second-half substitute Lucky Mkosana charged dangerously toward the far post in the 85th minute, looking to meet a cross. The Zimbabwean striker’s head made contact with the ball, but he was unable to direct it on frame.
All told, New York enjoyed 63 percent of the possession.
“In the end they built up confidence, and it’s always difficult when you play against a team that all of a sudden feels they can win a game,” said Savarese. “Then it becomes a tougher match.”