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New York Cosmos


June 24, 2014
Cosmos can’t cope with Union, official

By Matt Levine
Big Apple Soccer writer

The Cosmos and Union react to a 111th minute penalty call by referee Ismail Elfath.
The Cosmos and Union react to a 111th minute penalty call by referee Ismail Elfath.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
CHESTER, Pa.---The City of Brotherly Love was anything but friendly for the New York Cosmos on Tuesday night, they lost to the Philadelphia Union 2-1 in the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as an already tense affair turned ugly as the game wore on.

The Union scored on a contentious penalty for a foul called on Jimmy Ockford in the 114th minute to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Union striker Sebastien Le Toux, who had scored earlier, converted the pk for his 12th all-time Open Cup goal.

“We’ve been robbed tonight, which is a shame because Philadelphia doesn’t deserve it and the New York Cosmos don’t deserve it,” said head coach Giovanni Savarese.

“The show from the beginning was the referee. He was the main character of this play. It’s a shame because it should have been the players.”

Ockford challenged with Maurice Edu, with the Cosmos defender getting a touch to clear it, but the penalty was called.

“I think if you look at Mo’s reaction he gets right up and doesn’t ask for a penalty kick,” said Cosmso defender Hunter Freeman. “I spoke to him afterwards, me and Mo go back for a long time with national teams and he still doesn’t know what was called.”

What made matters worse, was the Cosmos were denied what should have been a clear cut penalty after Mads Stokkelien was pushed over, but no call came in the 101st minute.

“I definitely thought it was a penalty kick 100%,” said Stokellien. “I was waiting for the referee to blow his whistle and I have no idea why he didn’t.”

Referee Ismail Elfath flashed three red cards, as Ayoze and Ockford earned them for the Cosmos and Michael Lahoud earned one for the Union. Two Cosmos coaches, Alecko Eskandarian and Carlos Llamosa were also ejected.

After the goal, both sides boiled over with a skirmish near the corner flag as Ayoze and Lahoud were both issued red cards in the 119th minute. Ockford was then issued a straight red of his own as the Cosmos finished the match with nine men.

The last six minutes of play marred a tense game between the Cosmos and the Union.

Le Toux found space in the box on 10 minutes, but fired his off balance shot well over the bar. Roversio had the best chance for the Cosmos in the opening 45 minutes, but headed wide at the back post from a corner.

Andrew Wenger than found space between the Cosmos center backs, but could only direct his shot wide in the 24th minute. A minute later a Hunter Freeman free-kick left rookie goalkeeper Andre Blake reeling as he was able to tip the ball out behind the goal for a corner kick, which came to nothing in the end for the side in green.

Christian Maidana then took a crack at goal from close-range, but Jimmy Maurer, who had a strong first half, was able to get down to the shot. Amobi Okugo’s shot moments later was deflected wide for a corner.

The Union came out for the second half as they ended the first. Maidana again had a good look on goal, but his header lacked the necessary pace with Maurer making an easy save in the end.

Alessandro Noselli- as he has done in recent weeks- found the opening goal for the Cosmos against the run of play in the 56th minute by way of a cheeky chip over Blake. Danny Szetela was strong in possession and threaded the ball into Noselli’s path.

However, the lead was short-lived. Less than a minute later the Union stormed back finding a goal of their own. Wenger was afforded space to whip in a cross from the right and Le Toux had an easy tap in to equalize.

Fabinho whipped in a teasing cross at the 68th minute mark, but Wenger could only head the ball over the frame of the goal.

Three minutes later substitute Leo Fernandes then had a go from range, but the shot nestled easily into Maurer’s arms. Roversio, who wasn’t having the sharpest performance, was able to make a crucial block on an Okugo shot from inside the box.

The Union continued to look the livelier side as the game wore down, but they couldn’t find a winner in regular time.

In the extra time the game ebbed and flowed with both teams looking to score on tired legs. Ayoze drove at the heart of the defense, but ended up with a tame effort that went wide. In the 110th minute, Ockford rose well, but his shot was blocked on its way through.

The Cosmos will now re-group as they prepare for the fall season.

“Now we have a few days off so now we can go home to our families and think about something else,” said Stokkelien. “Then we come back next week and we’re ready for the fall season.”

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