Match Recap: Strikers 1, Cosmos 1
Photo credit- Jon van Woerden
Match: Fort Lauderdale Strikers (FTL) v. New York Cosmos (NYC)
Competition: 2014 NASL Fall Season- Matchday 3
Venue: Lockhart Stadium; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. EDT
Weather: 83°F, mostly cloudy
Shorthanded Strikers Tie Cosmos 1-1
Strikers Hold Off Cosmos Despite Being a Down a Man
A shorthanded Strikers side held on to a 1-1 tie with rivals New York Cosmos at Lockhart Stadium. A goal from the penalty spot converted by Jenison Brito cancelled out Jemal Johnson’s opener for the Cosmos.
"We knew this would be a tough game today," Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner said. "I though we did a great considering we were down to 10 players. We deserved this point."
Faced with a number of injuries to key players, Kronsteiner departed from his usual 4-2-3-1 formation in favor of the classic 4-4-2. He fielded an experimental starting eleven with James Marcelin partnering Justin Chavez in defense and Ronaldo Vieira, making his first NASL start, in the center of midfield.
It took just seven minutes for the game’s opening goal. Hans Denissen controlled a cross at the top of the box with his chest and lifted a ball over the defense for Johnson. The former Strikers forward beat Marcelin in an aerial duel to head the ball past Kamil Contofalsky in goal.
Just two minutes later the Cosmos nearly doubled their lead. Johnson picked out Mads Stokkelien inside the box who cut inside on Chavez before firing just wide of the far post.
The Strikers earned a penalty in the 23rd minute of the match after Fafà Picault’s cross struck the arm of Cosmos defender Ayoze. The Brazilian forward Brito stepped up to take the ensuing penalty kick. He lashed the ball past the helpless Jimmy Maurer to score his first goal for the Strikers, knotting the game at 1-1.
The Strikers’ chances of a comeback were dealt a blow shortly before halftime. Vieira was shown a straight red card for a high challenge on Danny Szetela in the 39th minute and the Strikers were forced to play the remainder of the match a man down.
Despite playing shorthanded, the Strikers held their own defensively in the second half. The team also looked lively up top with the athleticism and skill of Brito and Picault impressing and creating chances. In search of the win, the Cosmos made attack-minded substitutions in the second half. Coach Kronsteiner responded by sending on Colin Murphy, and later, as the Strikers looked more like scoring, Aly Alberto Hassan.
The Cosmos had a good chance to steal the win through Sebastián Guenzatti in the 76th minute. The winger broke through the defense but Contofalsky came off his line and did enough to force Guenzatti into shooting over the goal.
The Strikers looked better and better as the match progressed and Manny Gonzalez had an opportunity at the other end just two minutes later. The midfielder struck a dipping freekick from the edge of the area which was tipped over the net by Maurer.
Right back Darnell King broke through the Cosmos defense in the 80th minute on a mazy run and was unlucky to see his effort go just wide of the far post.
It was almost heartbreak for the Strikers in stoppage time. Stefan Dimitrov, who spent part of the 2013 season on loan in Fort Lauderdale, struck the underside of the bar, but the ball bounced out and the home team was able to claim a point in the standings.
NYC- Jemal Johnson (Hans Denissen)- 7th minute
FTL- Jenison Brito (penalty kick)- 24'
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-4-2) – Kamil Contofalsky; Darnell King, Justin Chavez, James Marcelin, Ivan Guerrero (C); Shawn Chin, Manny Gonzalez, Ronaldo Vieira, Mark Anderson (Colin Murphy 70); Fafà Picault (Darryl Gordon 90), Jenison Brito (Aly Alberto Hassan 84)
Subs not used: David Meves, Gonzalo De Mujica, Martin Nuñez, Yaikel Pérez
New York Cosmos (4-4-2) – Jimmy Maurer; Hunter Gorskie, Hunter Freeman, Carlos Mendes (C) (Joesph Nane 83), Ayoze (Stefan Dimitrov 70); Sebastián Guenzatti, Danny Szetela, Dane Murphy (Marcos Senna 59), Jemal Johnson; Hans Denissen, Mads Stokkelien
Subs not used: Kyle Zobeck, Hagop Chirishian, Paulo Mendes, James Nealis
NYC- Dane Murphy (caution)- 15th minute
NYC- Ayoze (caution)- 24'
FTL- Ronaldo Vieira (ejection)- 39’
NYC- Jemal Johnson (caution)- 62'
FTL- Shawn Chin (caution)- 85'
Referee- Younes Marrakchi; Assistants- Jonathan Weiner, Andres Schwarz; Fourth- Randy Cook