The Cosmos failed to make it two wins in a row at San Francisco. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
SAN FRANCISCO – The Cosmos paid for two first-half goals and suffered a 2-1 loss to the San Francisco Deltas at Kezar Stadium Saturday night.
New York suffered its first defeat of the North American Soccer League fall season after stunning Miami FC last week.
“We had control of the match in its early stages. However, two isolated plays put us in a difficult position going into the break,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We tried to recover on the second half, but the game turned physical and unfortunately we run out of time to come back.”
The Cosmos dominated possession in the first half while closing down the Deltas in midfield.
They opened the scoring in the third minute after Eric Calvillo, the NASL player of the month for July, found space down the right flank, setting up Pablo Vranjicán’s second goal this season.
The 10th minute saw more from Calvillo, who gave Eugene Starikov an opportunity from outside the penalty area that just missed the near post. The 19-year-old U.S. youth international continued to steal the show, dribbling outside the area in the 22nd minute before sending a ball wide of the target.
The game got more and more physical leading up to the Deltas’ equalizer.
A 36th-minute free kick by Dagoberto found Patrick Hopkins, who finished on a half-volley to tie the game at 1-1. The tension escalated quickly when referee, Malik Badawi, awarded the hosts a 45th-minute penalty kick after spotting a Cosmos elbow in the box. Thomas Heinemann smashed in the spot kick for a 2-1 lead.
Starikov tried to pull one back before the halftime whistle, sending a left-footed effort at goalkeeper Romuald Peiser in the third minute of first-half stoppage time.
In the second half, the Cosmos pressured the Deltas in the final third. A slippery pitch continued to cause both teams problems, with players occasionally losing their footing.
The 56th minute saw Cosmos keeper, Jimmy Maurer, deny Heinemann at point-blank range.
New York reinforced its midfield by bringing on Javi Márquez in the 58th minute. The Spaniard had an instant impact, sending a left-footed cross towards the far post. Starikov kept Peiser on his toes, forcing the keeper into a difficult save in the 63rd minute. Márquez had the next attempt, sending the ball off a Deltas player as well as the side netting to earn his team a corner.
New York kept searching for the equalizer.
Calvillo was back in action in the 76th minute, having a go at the far post from outside the area.
A key substitution in the 78th minute added some sharpness to the Cosmos attack, as Lucky Mkosana played for the second time since his return. The Zimbabwean made his mark two minutes after coming on, heading the ball just over the crossbar. In the 82nd minute, Mkosana kept a Márquez free kick in play, delivering to David Ochieng, whose header was saved by Peiser.
The Cosmos will be on the road against FC Edmonton Friday at 9 p.m. ET.