Giovanni Savarese’s New York Cosmos are taking no prisoners this year: they want to win the Fall 2013 North American Soccer League title.
New York took the next step towards doing so with a Diomar Diaz brace en route to a 2-0 over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Diaz opened up the scoring in the 10th minute of play thanks to Ayoze and he slammed the door shut in the 33rd minute. The Cosmos did have to play a man down late after Sebastien Guenzatti was sent off in the first minute of second half stoppage time.
Overall, eight yellow cards, four on each side, were issued, with two going to one player.
FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS NY COSMOS
3 CORNERS 2
10 FOULS 20
4 OFFSIDES 5
3 SHOTS (OFF TARGET) 2
3 SHOTS (ON TARGET) 4
“First of all it is a very good result for us as it is an important win against a team that created a lot of difficulties for us today,” said Savarese to the press. “I have to give the Strikers a lot of credit as they played very well especially in the second half as they created a lot of opportunities but I’m glad that our defense was very strong today.
“Overall it was a very good match and it was a strong challenge for us today.”
“I’m happy with how we played the second half, however we weren’t aggressive enough and with a team like this you have to play 100 percent,” said Strikers assistant coach, Raoul Voss, who was filling in for the suspended Günter Kronsteiner. “In the first half we gave them too much space and if we would have scored a goal the game momentum would have changed but we couldn’t come back into it the second half as it was too late.”
“The [Cosmos] understood the importance of the game,” Savarese told Big Apple Soccer. “They understood we needed to get a win here, away. We tried to just push and pressure the Strikers all the way from the defense.
“We were able to do a good job in the first half. In the second half, they added numbers going forward and they created some difficulties for us.”
Savarese credited the Ayoze’s role at left back as the deciding factor.
“We always knew when we brought Ayoze that was a position he could play. The left back position is a position he played before,” the Cosmos manager told NYCosmos.com. “It’s something we felt could contribute today in the match. We felt that was an area we could exploit with a player who could come from behind and take space exactly the way he ended up on the first goal.
“Diomar had a very good game today scoring the two goals, but I think even more his work defensively is something we’ve been working with him. He was able to give us that today and he was outstanding going forward and in covering tactically the areas we needed him to be.”
With a record of 4-1-3 (15 points), the Cosmos have a big match with the Tampa Bay Rowdies next week at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. on Sept. 29. Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. ET and will be televised by SNY and One World Sports.