Jimmy Maurer recorded his third shutout of the season. (Andy Mead/YCJ)
SAN FRANCISCO – Emmanuel Ledesma certainly made his Cosmos debut a memorable one.
The midfielder scored the lone goal of the North American Soccer League match as the Cosmos handed the San Francisco Deltas their first loss of the season, 1-0, at Kezar Stadium Saturday night.
The win lifted the Cosmos in a three-way tie for second in the spring season standings.
“It was a very difficult match,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We can still do better. We’re on the right track. What prevailed today was the [team’s] unity.”
Goalkeeper Jimmy Mauer recorded his third shutout of the season.
In the early stages of the match, both teams seemed to have trouble finding their footing. Tension escalated and tempers flared after multiple fouls. Referee Timothy Ford, however, did well to keep things from getting out of hand.
The Cosmos threatened inside the box in the 20th minute when defender Darrius Barnes’ header off a headed pass from defender Dejan Jakovic was blocked. Their best chance of the half came through Ledesma. His cross into the box forced goalkeeper Romuald Peiser to punch away. The follow-up from midfielder Javi Márquez also was blocked by Peiser.
New York started strong in the second half, with Marquez sending a low shot rolling dangerously close by the near post, followed by a promising long range effort. The hosts soon regained the initiative. San Francisco produced its best play in the 63rd minute through forward Tommy Heinemann. Then defender Reiner Ferrera, was denied by Maurer from long range. Heinemann bent a right-footed shot dangerously near the far post.
Ledesma struck in the 69th minute as he curled a slow, left-footed shot over Peiser from the top of the box.
“Ledesma showed a lot of quality and composure,” Savarese said. “He saw the open space behind the keeper and scored.”
The Deltas made Maurer work for the equalizer, but couldn’t find the equalizer. Efforts from midfielder Kyle Bekker and midfielder Cristian Portilla couldn’t shake the Cosmos keeper.
New York nearly doubled their lead in the 81st minute through Marquez, who forced Peiser into a save with a volley from the top of the box. San Francisco tried some late counters, but luck was not on their side. A last minute effort from winger Pablo Dyego rolled wide of the post.