Giuseppe Barone celebrates the goal scored from 50 yards out for the Cosmos’ insurance goal. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
KINGSTON, N.Y. – The Cosmos magic numbers Saturday night?
It had to be two and zero as in a 2-0 result for the second time in eight days and a 2-0 record in this young National Premier Soccer League season.
Aaron Dennis started the scoring a first-half goal and second-half substitute Giuseppe Barone converted a golazo to spoil Kingston Stockade FC’s home opener at Dietz Stadium.
Goalkeeper Paul Blanchette, in his first start of the young season, recorded the clean sheet.
Last week the Cosmos defeated the New York Athletic Club, 2-0, in their home opener.
With Wednesday night’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup first-round encounter against Black Rock FC in mind, Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes decided to rest three players. One was goalkeeper Santi Castano, who recorded a clean sheet in the 2-0 season-opening win over the New York Athletic Club last Saturday.
Left back Ansi Agolli started the match on the bench as Kevin Venegas was inserted into the Starting XI for the first time this season at right back. Pedro Galvao, who played right back last week, moved into Agolli’s slot on the left side.
Mendes also replaced Joey Sanchez with Salvatore Barone in the midfield.
The Cosmos looked disjointed in the early going while Kingston’s speed made them sweat.
Forward Bledi Bardic had a golden opportunity to lift the visitors into the lead in the 21st minute when midfielder Darwin Espinal caught keeper Lucas Vallilo out of the net on the left flank. He shuffled off a pass to Bardic, whose shot at the empty kick was blocked.
New York found the range in the 37th minute when Aaron Dennis, from close range, headed home a right-wing cross from the overlapping Kevin Venegas past goalkeeper Lucas Vallilo. Dennis, a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands national team, has scored in both Cosmos games.
Some two minutes after he came on for Dennis in the 68th minute, Barone connected for his spectacular goal to give the Cosmos some breathing room.
After collecting a pass from second-half sub Charlie Ledula at midfield, Barone, noticing that Vallilo was out of his net, took one dribble and sent a 50-yard shot over the goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net in the 70th minute.
Barone then ran over to celebrate with in front of about two dozen Cosmos fans in the far stands who ventured here.
Video courtesy of the Cosmos’ YouTube Page and Willy Whitelaw
It was the second time in as many seasons in which a Cosmos player scored from the halfway line. Former Cosmos Rafa Garcia struck in the final minutes on a similar goal to lift New York into a 2-1 home win over the Brooklyn Italians.
The Cosmos return to action against Black Rock FC in the Open Cup at Rocco B. Commisso Stadium in New York City on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
They welcome Boston City FC in their second NPSL regular-season home match at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. on Saturday, May 11 at 7 p.m.