Ayzoze converted a late penalty kick for the Cosmos. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Christian Arnold
BROOKLYN, N.Y. – Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese could have used a number of things to excuse his club 4-2 loss at home to FC Edmonton on Wednesday night. The Cosmos were playing their second game in the span of less than a week and the officials played more of a role in the game than some may have liked.
Instead, Savarese would have none of it when all was said and done, and placed the loss squarely on the shoulders of his team, which allowed a 1-0 lead slip away at MCU Park.
“I could go back and talk about Saudi Arabia and pushing the game to Wednesday, and the guys getting tired,” Savarese said. “We had the game. The game was ours. The game was dominated and we had it in control, so I cannot look for excuses that are outside of the reality of what we didn’t do. The reality is that we should have been better to be able to win this game.
“I wouldn’t look at this game was moved. Those won’t be excuses for me to be able to look at the reality and say that we gave the game away in the 65th minute.”
It was a three-minute span in the second half that turned the game in favor of visitors from north of the border. First, it was Sainey Nyassi who headed a ball sent into the box past Cosmos goalkeeper Brian Holt to tie the game at 1-1 in the 69th minute in the North American Soccer League game.
Moments later Tomi Ameobi scored the first of two goals to put the Eddies in front 2-1. Nyassi sent the ball into the box to Ameobi, who sent a quick touch to Mauro Eustaquio, who in turn set up Ameobi for the goal.
New York nearly tied it in the 76th minute when Eugene Starikov had a slow rolling shot cleared off the goal line by an Edmonton defender.
From there things continued to spiral downward for the Cosmos. New York was handed consecutive red cards on questionable calls by the official, sending off Darrius Barnes and Juan Guerra and leaving New York with only nine men on the field.
The Eddies took full advantage of the Cosmos from there, with Jake Keegan scoring in the 84th minute and Ameobi scoring in the 89th minute to open the game up.
“When you go down two players it’s always hard,” said Irvin Herrera, who scored the Cosmos only goal until stoppage time when Ayoze converted a penalty kick. “We dominated the first half. We had control of the game and just let it go. We made some mistakes, Edmonton took advantage of that and put away their chances. The ones that we couldn’t put away in the first half and basically we just gave up the game right there.”
The offensive outburst was a rare display by the Eddies, who entered Wednesday’s match having scored just five goals all season and sitting in last place in the eight-team NASL. A visibly frustrated Savarese said the loss stemmed from a lack of maturity on the Cosmos.
The Cosmos coach cited the team’s loss in the Lamar/U.S. Open cup, as well as Wednesday’s loss when discussing the team’s need to not give games away.
“We gave up four goals at home against a team that doesn’t score many goals, so there’s many negatives,” he said. “It’s incredible. You see the result and after the 65th minute it was something else and this is a game that should have been close way before the 65th minute.”
And Savarese’s frustration didn’t end with the players on the field. Savarese voiced frustration with the front office over a play in the 37th minute.
The officials called a penalty kick after they believed Walter Restrepo was fouled inside the box, but after appearing to see a replay on the video board, the officials reversed the call and gave the Cosmos a free kick instead.
While the Cosmos coach didn’t blame the officials for the call, he did take issue with the fact the replay was even shown in the first place on the video board located in left field of the ballpark.
“We lost from the front office the game. Showing freaking videos on top and showing that to the referee to make a decision,” an agitated Savarese said. “That’s a front office lack of professionalism and we should have been better at this situation. I don’t if it was a PK or not because I couldn’t see, but I wouldn’t blame the referee.”
Savarese didn’t ask for an explanation from the officials on why the call was changed. “I cannot ask the referees something that wasn’t very clear to me,” he added.
The outfield video board was airing the broadcast feed at the time of the foul and it is unclear if there is any rule or regulation on when a stadium can show the replay of a foul while an official is making a call.