Minnesota Drop Heartbreaker 1-0 to New York Cosmos
Blaine, Minn. (October 5, 2013) – On a slick rainy evening at NSC Stadium in Blaine, Minnesota United FC (4W-2T-4L, 14pts) fell 1-0 in a hotly contested match with the New York Cosmos (6W-3T-1L, 21pts). Cosmos midfielder Paulo Mendes knocked home his second goal in as many games in the 53rd minute on a breakaway attempt from the left wing. United were unable to find the equalizer and as a result dropped a tough one at home.
“In the second half we played really well and the goal was in the run of play,” said United head coach Manny Lagos, “I thought we fought a good battle and created chances and my hats off to the Cosmos as they defended well. It was a tough loss as it was a big game for us.”
For the first time in 32 years, the Minnesota home fans saw their team play the New York Cosmos. History aside, this was a match between first and second place in the North American Soccer League standings. The Cosmos were able to pull 7 points clear of Minnesota, extending their lead with 21 points on the season, leaving Minnesota with 14 points. With just 4 matches remaining in the Fall, Minnesota requires help from their fellow NASL clubs to remain in the hunt for the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl.
The rain proved difficult early as United keeper Matt VanOekel bobbled a grounded chance, but successfully gobbled it up with Cosmos forward Stefan Dimitrov lurking for a putback.
Cosmos forward Sebastian Guenzatti fired a chance from the left corner of the 18 yard box in the 9th minute that skidded wide of the outstretched VanOekel.
The stakes were apparent on the field towards the 30 minute mark, as Hunter Freeman slid dangerously into Simone Bracalello. Things escalated and shoves were exchanged, but the only result was a Freeman booking. Moments later United forward Mike Ambersley was inadvertently decked outside the Cosmos box, hitting the turf hard and remained down for a moment, requiring the trainers. Ambersley made his way back into the match remained for the full 90 minutes.
Cosmos’ midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti managed a dipping volley in first half stoppage time that dangerously cleared the crossbar by inches. Leaving each side deadlocked at 0-0 through the opening 45 minutes. “The field is wet so the game is too fast so we are struggling a bit to get the possession we’d like. Anyhow, it is affecting both teams so hopefully in the second half it can settle down and play good soccer.” Offered United head coach Manny Lagos as the teams entered the locker room.
The Cosmos came out in the second half and quickly found their groove. In the 53rd minute midfielder Paulo Mendes was able to get free along the right wing after a United defender slipped and galloped towards Minnesota’s goal, where he calmly blasted a shot from just inside the 18 that narrowly missed the gloves of VanOekel and pounded in the back of the net, giving the Cosmos a 1-0 lead.
Minnesota looked to strike back quickly and level the match in the 55th minute as United forward Mike Ambersley drifted a perfectly weighted ball in the Cosmos area that found the head of striker Pablo Campos, but his effort faded just over the crossbar.
Ambersley looked to take matters into his own hands in the 57th minute as he ambled his way into the Cosmos box alone, with just the keeper to beat, but Kyle Reynish was up to the task and off his line quickly, devouring the ball at Ambersley’s cleats. Stopping perhaps United’s best chance of the match.
Matt VanOekel made an exceptional reflex save in the 65th minute after a Cosmos corner found the head of goalscorer Mendes who flicked the cross on net, but VanOekel reacted quickly and punched the effort wide. Saving the match and keeping United within striking distance.
Simone Bracalello looked to play the role of hero and fired a low grounded shot across the mouth of goal in the 89th minute, but it skidded just wide left of the Cosmos post. Just three minutes later Pablo Campos nearly notched his 10th goal of the season but his acrobatic fllick sailed harmlessly over the bar. This would prove to be the final chance of the match and as the Cosmos held on for the 1-0 win.
Minnesota travel to Carolina to face the RailHawks at WakeMed Soccer Pary in Cary, NC next Saturday, October 12th. Kickoff is set for 6:30 PM CDT. Watch LIVE at www.MNUnitedFC.com or with fellow supporters at our Official Watch Party at Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis.
ASPIRE Beverages Highlights
REPLAY pt. 1
Video streaming by Ustream
Video streaming by Ustream
Minnesota lineup: GK Matt VanOekel; D Cristiano Dias, Aaron Pitchkolan, Connor Tobin, Brian Kallman (Omar Daley, 82nd); M Simone Bracalello, Calum Mallace (Sinisa Ubiparipovic, 69th), Michael Reed, Miguel Ibarra; F Mike Ambersley, Pablo Campos
Minnesota unused subs: GK Mitch Hildebrandt; D Justin Davis; M Kentaro Takada; F Travis Wall, Max Griffin
Opponent lineup: GK Kyle Reynish; D Hunter Freeman, Carlos Mendes, Roversi; M Ayoze, Sebastian Guenzatti, Danny Szetela, Paulo Mendes (Joseph Nane, 82′), Marcos Senna (Dane Murphy, 90+1′); F Stefan Dimitrov, Diomar Diaz (Peri Marosevic, 90′)
Opponent unused subs: GK Jimmy Maurer; D Korey Veeder; M Hagop Chirishian, Joseph Nane; F Peri Marosevic, Henry Lopez
NYC – Paulo Mendes (Assist: Stefan Dimitrov) 53′
NYC – Hunter Freeman (Yellow Card) 27th
NYC – Ayoze (Yellow Card) 39th
MNU – Brian Kallman (Yellow Card) 50th
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