Giovanni Savarese’s New York Cosmos opened a new era in the organization’s history. They left it late in a thrilling 2-1 victory over Günter Kronsteiner’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Legends such as Pele and Carlos Alberto looked on as a sellout of 11,929 watched the Cosmos make history, breaking a Long Island record for a professional soccer game on Long Island set back in 1997.
Peri Marosevic opened up the scoring in the 45th minute of play, and then it was surefire Italian striker Alessandro Noselli that delivered the game winner in the second minute of second half stoppage time. Walter Restrepo equalized for the Strikers in the 37th minute of play.
“I was like 12, 14 years old. We went to Giants Stadium … when they played the Giants Stadium, when they became popular, I was there. I saw Pele, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia,” 55-year old Cosmos fan Adam Cale told reporters. “When they started to say that Cosmos were coming back, I said ‘well, I will believe it when I see it.’
“Now I feel very excited, I have to tell you, I’m real thrilled to be here and see Cosmos coming back twice in lifetime.”
“We are very happy to start out with a win,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese told Big Apple Soccer.
“To get the third points today was very important,” defender and captain Carlos Mendes said. “It wasn’t the prettiest game.”
“It was a difficult win, but we made it,” Cosmos midfielder Marcos Senna added. “I am happy, but excited about this project.”
The Cosmos return to action on Aug. 1 on the road against the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Progress Energy Park in St. Petersburg, Fla. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.