By Laura Amato
The New York Cosmos dreams of a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title run came to a screeching halt as the squad dropped a disappointing 3-2 game to the New England Revolution at St. John’s University’s Belson Stadium June 29.
New England’s Teal Bunbury dealt the heartbreaking blow in the 83rd minute, notching his second goal of the night. It’s the third straight season in which the Cosmos have fallen in the tournament’s Round of 16.
“We created chances and I think we should have been a little more clincal to finish some of those chances,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “At the end, when you play at this level and you make the kind of mistakes that we make, you get penalized. I think that’s what happened towards the end of the game.”
The Cosmos struck first, breaking onto the scoreboard in the 38th minute as Jairo Arrieta dished it off to Ruben Bover for a goal that all but left New England’s defense spinning.
The Revolution didn’t stay down long, however, responding just five minutes later with a Bunbury goal to knot the score at one all heading into the break.
It had been an evenly matched tilt for much of the opening 45 minutes of play, but New York was desperate to find some kind of momentum, a point that Savarese hammered home during halftime.
“Being patient and mature enough as a team to be able to finish a game that we had in control,” Savarese said. “We did a lot of good things, we created good chances, especially in the first half.”
The Cosmos thought they had found a bit of control in the 56th minute when Sebastian Guenzatti’s shot, off an assist from Juan Arango, bounced off the fingertips of New England goalie Bobby Shuttleworth and rolled into the corner of the net.
It was an early shift, but one the Cosmos collectively felt had changed the pace of the game. Suddenly, New York focused on battening down the metaphorical hatches and settled in a defensive scheme in order to preserve the slim cushion.
The Revolution, of course, had other ideas.
New England continued to press the ball forward and, once again, tied up the game in the 75th minute as Kei Kamara found the back of the net on an unassisted shot after Cosmos goalie Jimmy Maurer was unable to successfully clear the ball. Banbury followed up with another goal eight minutes later, taking advantage of a tie-up in the middle of the field.
“This one is tough to take,” Maurer said. “The guys did incredible all game and they were running the show in front of me. One play and it completely changed the momentum.”
New York did have several chances to tie up the game, but a missed header and an overshot by Arango in the final seconds of regulation snuffed out the rally.
The Cosmos didn’t have much time to dwell on the loss. The squad returned to NASL action earlier this week, determined to bounce back after the disappointing miscues in the Open Cup.
“We’re competitive, I’m competitive,” Savarese said. “I think we have a team that could have gone through. That’s what makes you end the game with some sour feelings. We’re ready to continue to go forward.”