PUERTO PLATA, Dominican Republic — The Cosmos kicked off their Dominican Republic preseason with a 1-0 victory over Atlántico FC in an international friendly at Leonel Plácido Stadium Tuesday night.
Venezuelan midfielder Juan Guerra scored the lone goal of the match.
“More important than winning was to have the opportunity to rotate our squad and gain momentum,” Cosmos head coach and sporting director Giovanni Savarese said. “The 2017 season will start in less than a month, so we will continue working hard to improve as much as we can to be ready for our first match.”`
The Cosmos dominated early as midfielder Andres Flores made a quick cut inside to combine with Italian striker Amauri to create the first chance in the sixth minute as his shot went wide.
Some 14 minutes later, Flores found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Geancarlos Martinez, but the keeper’s quick reaction kept New York off the scoreboard.
Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer controlled a one-on-one situation of his own against striker Mauro Gomez, who tested the defense in the first half.
Midfielder Danny Szetela came close to breaking the ice in the 40th minute, after looping a shot over Martinez, who nervously watched the ball hit the crossbar.
The visitors finally found the go-ahead goal four minutes into the second half as Guerra curled the ball over a defensive wall and past the goalkeeper for a 1-0 lead.
Goalkeeper Brian Holt, who replaced Maurer and played the second half, made sure to put a lock on his goal as he effectively turned away two shots and grabbed crosses to preserve the clean sheet.
New York will travel to Santo Domingo Wednesday to play against 2015 national champion Club Atlético Pantoja at Estadio Olimpico Félix Sanchez Friday.
The Cosmos will kick off the NASL season as they travel to Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium to take on Puerto Rico FC Saturday, March 25. The Cosmos’ home opener is set for MCU Park in Broooklyn against Miami FC Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m.