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Cosmos eliminate NYCFC from U.S. Open Cup

Cosmos NYCFC 1 (USA TODAY Sports)

Photo by Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY Sports


It took penalty kicks to decide the first East River Derby, but the New York Cosmos will live to fight another day after defeating their crosstown rival.

Despite being down two goals in the second half, the Cosmos came back with a 90th minute equalizer from Lucky Mkosana before topping NYCFC in penalty kicks, 4-3, at Shuart Stadium.

The game-winning penalty kick was scored by Hunter Gorskie, who followed up a save from goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, his third of the penalty kick shootout.

As the clock struck the 90th minute, Mkosana stepped up to the plate, scoring the equalizing goal to complete the two-goal comeback. With the Cosmos piling on the pressure in the game’s waning moments, Mkosana found himself on the end of a cross from Hunter Freeman. The Cosmos forward took a touch before burying a shot from the center of the box, sealing extra time.

The Cosmos got the best chance of the extra period early via a penalty kick, only to see the shot rattle the crossbar.

Following a foul call on Hunter Freeman, Pablo Alvarez smashed his penalty kick off the bar, leaving the scoreline level as extra time dragged on.

Throughout the opening moments, the Cosmos looked like the team with something to prove, threatening repeatedly though Mkosana. With the forward repeatedly a target of through balls, NYCFC centerbacks Shay Facey and Jason Hernandez were regularly called into action, making a series of big tackles in the opening 15 minutes.

Those tackles proved vital as Poku led NYCFC to the opening goal in the 24th minute, firing an acrobatic effort past Jimmy Maurer against the run of play.

After receiving a looped pass from RJ Allen, Poku’s first touch was a little heavy, nearly allowing Cosmos defender Ayoze to clear. The NYCFC midfielder proceeded to smash a falling volley with his back to goal, giving NYCFC the early lead.

That lead carried into halftime before Poku struck once again in the 57th minute to give the visitors a two-goal cushion.

On the receiving end of a pass from Pablo Alvarez, Poku, who appeared to be offside collected and fired past Maurer for his second goal of the game and third in his last two contests.

The Cosmos received a lifeline in the 65th minute from substitute Leo Fernandes, who finished home pass from Mkosana to give the Cosmos hope through the game’s final 25 minutes.

However, it would prove to be NYCFC on the front foot through the final moments, as Maurer was forced into a pair of spectacular saves on Patrick Mullins and Mehdi Ballouchy in the game’s closing moments before Mkosana provided the equalizer.

The victory marks the second straight Cosmos triumph over a local opponent, as the Cosmos topped the New York Red Bulls in last season’s tournament.

Following the win, the Cosmos will now enter the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup, which will be played either on June 30 or July 1. The draw for the fifth round will take place June 18th.


  1. Agree that NASL and Cosmos will be nothing over the long term, glad to see some non MLS wins in USOC but let’s be realistic here, the MLS and revenue/salaries are only growing, NASL will not be able to compete with any decent players or real sustained media attention, its a 2nd rate product with Cosmos attendance paltry compared to MLS, + sponsorships + DPs, etc. of MLS way better and growing…

  2. NASL is a bunch of criminals trying to spruce up a bush league for 1 unrealistic team (Cosmos), they went 0-7 vs USL teams so they should be relegated below them. No competent MLS level player would “choose” to play in NASL. Cosmos will be alone in a couple years, other teams will move to MLS or to USL. MLS has won 18 of 19 USOCs…

    • Their very apparent of what caused their demise almost half a century ago and I’m sure their very keen on not letting history repeat itself. Every league has a flagship bearer and the Cosmos are that.

      • At this point, the Cosmos are a flag without a ship. They are, admittedly and proudly, bent on going their own way, in the spirit of “independent club soccer.” That’s all well and good, and great fun for their fans, but until and unless the Cosmos and the rest of the NASL can draw more than 5000 fans on a consistent basis, the economics just won’t be sustainable. At times it sonds like the Cosmos’ supporters would prefer them to be truly independent, a barnstorming team traveling around playing all comers.

      • Yeah, but the fans clearly aren’t a reflection of the organization. The people Cosmos ownership have hired, from marketing to business relations, staff with good heads on their shoulders and they clearly know how to operate the club effectively.

        In saying that, the NASL clearly know what their doing as well. They’ve responded to every stride MLS has made in current and potential markets. They’ve also made intelligent strategic moves that appeal to the nation’s hardcore fan base and it’s domestic players. The Summer schedule move; more lenient, flexible contracts attracting more players. A deal with ESPN (albeit ESPN 3).

        The truth is the NASL is making strides in the US soccer scene and I hope they continue to make strides because it only forces MLS’ hand into making necessary decisions to please players and fans alike, ultimately making it a better league for the fans and the players.

        One could argue that if you want whats best for MLS and soccer in America, MLS and NATS fans should support the NASL as much as their MLS clubs.

        Things don’t have to be so black and white.

      • Competition is good in any industry – unfortunately the franchise system wants to stamp out competition.

      • Is there any doubt left that you are merely a mls bot regurgitating tired old MLS press release logic?
        support independent soccer clubs!

  3. Almost all of the comments mention MLS.
    NOONE, except for me, seems to comment on the NASL season posts
    Sorry but it all adds up to a bunch of fake Cosmos fans who hate MLS rather than love something.

    If not, congrats on your round of 16. Sounders made the semis many times while not in MLS.

  4. MLS needs to let the Cosmos into the league. There is much better opportunity for a rivalry between the Cosmos and NYCFC after an epic game like that last night. Much better than trying to force a rivalry between NYCFC and RBNY.

    • Cosmos don’t want to join MLS. MLS has been trying to buy Cosmos for 20 years.
      . We will see what the future brings, but maybe people should support independent soccer clubs instead of blindly following MLS?

      • I thought I was just loving MLS. But I have been blindly following.

        After reading MLS has been trying to BUY the Cosmos, I guess I have been blind. How much are they offering?

        I just want to be clear, instead of having one NY team PAY them $100 million to MLS the Cosmos, drawing almost zero fans, would be PAID by MLS?

        Really curious how much money was offered.

      • Idk, but i’ve always felt the Metropolitan Stars title was always trying to replicate the vibe of the New York Cosmopolitans.

        I know that sort of thing is a common theme in the NY area, but it’s too coincidental that MLS would name their team that after failing to pry the rights to the Cosmos name from George Chinagalia’s hands.

      • Why follow MLS? Let’s see, MLS has the TV deal, the salaries, the stadiums, 38 K in Seattle, 30 K in Orlando, season sellouts in KC, SJ, It has the stars…Giovinco/Gerrard/Villa/Dempsey, MLS plays in international tournaments (CONCACAF)…MLS is the league people want to be in…Minnesota, Sac-Town, San Antonio…those are the reasons to follow MLS as opposed to some pub league.

      • NASL has a deal with ESPN. MLS definitely doesn’t have as much money as you think if their unwilling to increase payrolls without cutting roster spots.

  5. FYI MLS bots – that wasn’t even the Cosmos’ first team! They were missing 3 starters and their 6th man.
    Support independent club soccer!
    Cosmos taking MLS scalps!

    • Calm down, son.

      Unlike MLS and USL, the NASL isn’t even allowed a seat on the Board of Directors at USSF.

      You think we’ll let this go on for long?

    • NY sub 3 subs offf, while Villa & Mcnamara didnt even play. Also NY Cosmos won against NYRB & NYCFC at home, on that turf. I guess however If DC United could win the open cup, while being the worst team in MLS, NY Cosmos could win it as well lol. However you won one game, and only made it in the round of 16. Calm down.

      • They didn’t even know they had in McNamara until a couple of weeks ago. Wingert didn’t play as well as Villa. Honestly though, for an MLS club, you would think they would have more depth then an NASL team fielding a 4th string CB.

      • sure because expansion teams always start out LOADED with depth…………………….

      • You’d expect one owned by Manchester City to be wouldn’t you? Or are we going to pretend they don’t have more money then most clubs?

    • I’m a Galaxy fan and couldn’t care less about New York soccer in general, but I was highly impressed by the Cosmos last night. Such a great game. It could have gone either way, but I was happy to see the so-called lower division team win.

    • I won’t allow that to happen. Watch for free PK’s given to the MLS team late in every close game. It worked in about 3 MLS v NASL games last year. Almost worked in this one.

      Don’t worry, my buddies at USSF assure me they ain’t even making to the final.

      • I guess. You mean MLS’ satellite league is better then the cosmos? I follow the Austin Aztex and their definitely not a better side then the San Antonio scorpions, but it would be close.

  6. Great game, and great win for the Cosmos. Solid NYCFC side, although I wish Villa would have played. It’s been a great tourney so far, although I wish some of the USL sides had done better, for variety. Sacramento and Charlseton just blew it. It should be interesting from here on out. Cosmos vs Red Bull would be crazy, although I’m hoping they get drawn with someone like Philly, Colorado, or RSL.

    • The quad for the next round is NYRB, Philly, DCU and cosmos. Pick your poison. Can’t see cosmos beating either NYRB or DCU, so maybe Philly?

      • They could beat Philly, though Philly really have nothing to loose this season and could potentially be a very highly motivated side.

        They could potentially receive a unprepared DCU, which is also very possible.

        Even with the NYRB, it would be a heavily contested match up where both teams bring out their best, and even though the NYRB would be the favorites, the Cosmos live for the cup and will highly, highly motivated.

  7. Look on the bright side,..

    Sure you lost some stupid Open Cup match, but you still get to enjoy that giant Brooklyn loft your parents are paying for.


    • Somewhere down the line, once we have a bigger more educated soccer fan base, the US cup is going be looked at as the most prestigious trophy there is to win, just from a marketing stand point and will be a huge spectacle.

      These are pages that are being written into history books and I guarantee you it’ll be a whole lot bigger then just one game. Especially considering it’s two consecutive years that the Cosmos have knocked out a NY/NJ MLS team.

      • Prestige is different then priority. If your priority is to stay up, you might not give two cents about the cup. If your a mid-table team, you care everything about the cup because it’s your one chance to get crowned champions. The FA Cup definitely has more prestige then the EPL in a different manner.

  8. It was nycfc who hit the crossbar on a penalty in extra time. Great game to watch. Cosmos are just as good as the bottom half of MLS.

    • i feel like that only supports us moving to a pro/rel system. i can’t wait. over/under to me is about 15 years.

      • Is it more likely we see pro/rel under the NASL if they were to be given 1st division status, is what I’m more interested in at this point.

        My gut says yes.

        The NASL has already shown their capable of making radical changes to their brand with the realignment to the Spring schedule.

        And concerning MLS, honestly their probably incapable of pulling off such a move because their investors and club owners wouldn’t buy it and weren’t sold on that in the first place.

        And with all this drama going on with MLS’ labour negotiations, the NASL has never been in a better position then it finds itself right now, tbh.

    • Their payroll is probably a lot higher than the average MLS one. I’m not sure if there is sufficient revenue to make it a viable long-term model though.

      • Your comment makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately, that rarely carries the day in this neighborhood.

      • These clubs know what their getting themselves into. They balance the payrolls accordingly to their revenue and have 5 yr, 10 yr business strategies.

        The NASL is only getting more popular and i see getting a lot more popular with their alignment to a European calender.

  9. Dadgummit!!! I paid that ref to swing the game! Why’d that Man City moron have to miss the PK we gave him?

    Now I gotta shell out more money to these refs to fix the next match?

    Oh well, at least I only got one serious NASL team to sabatoge this year. Last year was expensive!

  10. Who’s the King of New York?!?!
    Who’s your daddy?!?!
    Let’s go Cosmos!!!
    For all of you guys! Learn from today’s game!!
    NY Cosmos never give up!!!

    Let’s Go Cosmos!!!

    PS. That’s what reql team work is about!!! Let’s go Cosmos!!!



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