Diomar Diaz struck late in the first half to give the New York Cosmos a 1-0 halftime lead over the San Antonio Scorpions in a the first ever North American Soccer League meeting between the two sides on Saturday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
San Antonio defender Greg Janicki tackled the ball away from Ayoze in the box, but the ball rolled out to an opportunistic Diaz, who blasted the ball past Scorpions goalkeeper Pat Hannigan from 16 yards to give the Cosmos a 1-0 lead.
“I thought it was a half in which we did a lot of good things that we’ve been working on and a lot of things we weren’t able to do before, which is find the man behind the defense,” said Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese. “Now we have to be confident to pass the ball around and not let them back into the game. We’re going to continue doing the same thing that has worked so far.
The Cosmos (1-1-1), who outshot San Antonio 6-3 in the first half, had the first quality scoring chance in the eighth minute after Janicki was booked for a tackle on Alessandro Noselli. However, Ayoze’s low free kick deflected off the San Antonio wall and, following a brief scramble, the ball was cleared.
Two minutes later, Marcos Senna corralled the ball outside the 18-yard box following a corner, but his low shot from 20 yards bounced wide of Hannigan’s right.
In the 15th minute, Diaz took a blast from distance that deflected off Alessandro Noselli’s back. Five minutes later, Senna teed up a shot from just inside the 18-yard box, but he fired well over the crossbar.
After absorbing early pressure, San Antonio (0-3-0) had more of the ball in the final 15 minutes and nearly scored on its first shot when Hans Dennisen played the ball to Walter Ramirez, who made a run into the box. However, the Honduran midfielder’s low shot from 10 yards rolled just wide of the far post in the 36th minute.
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese made four changes from the team that lost 3-0 at Carolina last weekend. With Joseph Nane and Sebastian Guenzatti serving a one-game suspension after being sent off against the Carolina RailHawks, Hagop Chirishian and Danny Szetela started in the midfield. Roversio replaced Korey Veeder in the back, while Diaz started in place of Peri Marosevic up front.
San Antonio coach Tim Hankinson made three changes from the team that lost to Fort Lauderdale, 2-1 with Lyle Martin, Stephen DeRoux and Walter Ramirez replacing Jeff Jennings, Borja Rubiato and Javier Saavedra.
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