ATLANTA – The New York Cosmos and Atlanta Silverbacks battled to a scoreless draw in front of a sellout crowd of 5,511 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park on April 25.
For most of the GAME the Cosmos (2-2-0) controlled possession and dictated the pace, but the Silverbacks defense didn’t concede thanks to a handful of saves from goalkeeper Steward Ceus.
“It was a match that was difficult. Atlanta was very disciplined in their defense,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese after the game. “We tried to push but they were very compact in the back. In the end we still picked up a point.”
Cosmos forward Lucky Mkosana rattled a shot off the post in the 48th minute after a brilliant through ball by winger Walter Restrepo. Mkosana caused trouble for the Silverbacks back line throughout the game. He was making his first start of the Spring Season.
“We know what Lucky is capable of,” Savarese said. “He created some excellent chances.”
The Silverbacks were not without chances of their own on the offensive end, but they did come few and far between in the first half.
“It was just the nature of the game,” Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer said. “We knew that’s how they were going to play. They were going to sit back and counter.”
While Atlanta did settle in a bit more during the second half, the final 15 minutes of the game were wide open as both teams began to launch forward for the win.
Silverbacks midfielder Kyle Porter was a frequent attacker down the flanks. He passed up a shot in the first half when it seemed he had enough space to test Maurer, and was later denied by a sliding Carlos Mendes on a terrific hustle play in which the Cosmos were out-manned on a counter attack. Porter was stopped again in the second half by Maurer on a tight angle in the box after a good through ball saw him in on net alone with the Cosmos goalkeeper.
“We know he’s one the better players on the team and we expected him to be dangerous,” Savarese said of Porter. “I thought we contained him well. They didn’t have many chances. He had a good chance in the first half and he had a very good chance in the second half, but I thought the defense did a good job containing him.”
Cosmos midfielder Marcos Senna produced the most dangerous moment of the first half as he unleashed a shot from deep in the midfield that dipped quickly near the goal and forced Ceus into a fine save to keep the match level.
Cosmos forward Raúl also conjured up some moments of near-magic for the Cosmos as he found Leonardo Fernandes in the box with a delicate chip. Fernandes controlled well with his chest, but was met by Silverbacks captain Simon Mensing to knock him off the ball and end another goal-scoring opportunity for the Cosmos.
With the draw New York is still unbeaten (5-2-0) against Atlanta in seven matches since 2013. Next up for the Cosmos is Ottawa Fury FC on May 2. That match kicks off at 7 p.m. ET from Brooklyn’s MCU Park.