“I think the Cosmos, if you look back over the game, deserved the result. They were the better team on the day, which is disappointing” said head coach Colin Clarke. “I think it was three games in eight days, including mid-week games and afternoon games. We had an Open Cup game, which was a big game emotionally and physically, but those are excuses. We didn’t start well. We talked long and hard all week that we needed to set the tempo. We didn’t connect enough passes early on or keep the ball. We were the ones doing the chasing and that’s hard under tough conditions. I think that caught up with us and we looked tired and sluggish."
The match started at a quick pace with the Cosmos controlling most of the attacking play. NCFC’s high press and the Cosmos wide play created chances on goal for both teams throughout the match.
Neither team could find the elusive goal in the opening 45 minutes and for the second time this season and the first time at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park, NCFC entered halftime with a goalless draw.
The visitors would quickly resume their attacking play following the break, forcing Brian Sylvestre to make three strong saves within the first five minutes of the half.
New York took the lead in the 52nd minute with a goal from Juan Guerra. Walter Restrepo’s cross found Guerra in the box, who chested down the ball and sent a strike past Sylvestre.
Following the goal, NCFC’s attack sparked to life and created chances in the 62ndand the 63rd minutes. NYC goalkeeper Brian Holt saved a strong shot from Matt Fondy and the Cosmos’ defense cleared a threat from Tiyi Shipalane just a minute later.
The hosts’ offense continued to make a push towards the NYC goal after the addition of Billy Schuler in the 61st minute. Schuler’s presence nearly paid off immediately, as the forward had a shot blocked inside the box in the 68th minute.
The team continued to push for a goal late in the match, as Nazmi Albadawi ripped a shot just wide of the target in the 78th minute and Fondy nearly found the end of several chances in the final 15 minutes of play.
However, NCFC couldn’t find the goal, and New York held on for the win to extend its unbeaten NASL streak to seven matches.
NCFC will travel to New York to play the Cosmos on Friday, June 9 at MCU Park. NCFC will return home Wednesday June 14 to face the Houston Dynamo of the MLS in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Fans can purchase tickets at NCFCTIX.com or by calling our box office at 919-459-8144.
The Cosmos, who play extremely well on the road, extended their unbeaten away streak to nine matches dating back to last season.
Brian Shriver made his 150th NASL appearance, coming on as a substitute in the 86th minute.
NCFC: Brian Sylvestre; Christian Ibeagha, James Marcelin, Steven Miller (Brian Shriver 88'), Connor Tobin (Kareem Moses 56'); Bolu Akinyode (Billy Schuler 61'), Nazmi Albadawi ©, Austin da Luz, Lance Laing, Tiyi Shipalane; Matt Fondy
Subs not used: Macklin Robinson, Brad Ruhaak, Dre Fortune
NYC: Brian Holt, Jimmy Mulligan, Carols Mendes, Dejan Jakovic, Ryan Richter, Ayoze, Javi Marquez (Danny Szetela 28'), Juan Guerra, Andres Flores, Walter Restrepo (Richard Menjivar 79'), Irvin Herrera (Eugene Starikov 67')
Subs not used: Jimmy Maurer, David Ochieng, Darrius Barnes, Eric Cavillo
NYC: Guerra (Restrepo 52')
NYC: Szetela (75'), Holt (80') Flores (90+')