In the first New York Derby between the New York Cosmos and New York Red Bulls, the Cosmos played like they belonged in a higher league. On the other end, the Red Bulls seemed like they had no interest in winning the match.
The Cosmos dominated the Red Bulls from start to finish in the first New York Derby in over 80 years, taking home a 3-0 victory on Saturday night to advance to the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“I don’t know in the future, but today maybe we are the best team in New York,” Cosmos forward Alessandro Noselli said.
Early on, the Cosmos controlled the pace, and were the ones getting the opportunities. They capitalized on one in the eighth minute. Former Red Bull and current Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes made a long clearance pass from the Cosmos defensive end of the field. Attacker Mads Stokkelien sprinted up the right side of the field, waited until the ball had bounced three times, before blasting the ball past Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, giving the Cosmos the early advantage. “He had a great game today,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said of Stokkelin.
The early goal sent the crowd of 9,364 at James M. Shuart Stadium into a frenzy, and had the Red Bulls reeling early. “I think they were a little shocked of our start,” Stokkelin said of the Red Bulls.
In the twenty-fifth minute, it looked like Mendes would get the chance to score against his old team. However, his shot attempt off a loose ball went off the crossbar in the scramble in front of the Red Bulls net. “In the end, that’s the way it goes sometimes,” Mendes said of his near miss.
With their two best players, Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry, in Brazil for the FIFA World Cup, the Red Bulls had to try and make due with a makeshift lineup. The visitors also started Meara, usually the backup, but he couldn’t stop the Cosmos onslaught on this night.
When the second half began, the Cosmos tried to extend their lead. It took until the seventy-third minute for them to add another. From the top right corner of the box, Danny Szetela floated a pass across the box toward a wide-open Stokkelien. With no defenders within five yards of him, Stokkelien got his right foot on the ball, kicking it past Meara, doubling the Cosmos lead. As Meara threw his hands in the air in disgust, the Cosmos and their fans celebrated. “It was a great ball from Danny (Szetela),” Stokkelien said.
Just five minutes later, in the seventy-eighth minute, Noselli added his name to the score sheet. After getting the ball, Noselli made two Red Bulls back up into their own penalty area, then Noselli scored with his left foot past Meara’s dive. At that point, the outcome of the match was no longer in doubt. “I wanted to shoot with my right foot,” Noselli said. “I changed decisions, and it was a good decision.”
Toward the end of the game, tempers flared as Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall was sent off with a red card for a hard tackle on a Cosmo who didn’t control the ball.
Although the score was 3-0 and the shots were 21-3 in favor of the Cosmos, coach Savarese knows there is still room for improvement. “It’s not about the score, it’s about the way the guys played,” Savarese said. “We still can improve on a couple of things. But today was a very strong performance against a strong team.”
In net, Jimmy Maurer only needed to make one save for the Cosmos. They will play the winner of Philadelphia Union/Harrisburg City Islanders on June 24 or 25