On a 44th minute penalty kick by NASL Player of the Week Marcos Senna, the New York Cosmos took a 1-0 lead over the Atlanta Silverbacks in the first-ever meeting between the two clubs in the North American Soccer League Saturday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.
Senna put his low attempt to the right of Atlanta goalkeeper Joe Nasco for his second goal in as many games.
Prior to the Spanish midfielder’s goal, New York defender Carlos Mendes headed the ball off the crossbar. Stefan Dimitrov attempted to corral the rebound, but was taken down by Atlanta’s Pedro Mendes in the box.
After a brief delay, referee Daniel Radford pointed to the spot where Senna clinically finished.
The Silverbacks had the first scoring chance of the match when Brad Stisser lobbed the ball toward the back post and it glanced off the crossbar in the 12th minute.
Atlanta (1-1-3), which was without the suspended Danny Barrera, is seeking to snap a four-match winless streak, while the Cosmos (2-1-2) are attempting to win for the third time in as many home games.
New York coach Giovanni Savarese was forced to use his first substitution before the half-hour mark when Italian striker Alessandro Noselli appeared to injure his right hamstring. He was replaced by Satoru Kashiwase, a Japanese forward on loan from Shimizu S-Pulse, in the 21st minute.
Five minutes later, Hagop Chirishian came inches from putting the ball in the net, but his shot from the top-left corner of the 18-yard box went wide of the far post.
On a quick counterattack in the 26th minute, Senna sprung Sebastian Guenzatti on goal. The midfielder carried the ball into the box and put a low shot on target that Nasco parried away. Dimitrov was unable to corral the rebound, which went over the endline.
Dimitrov latched onto Hunter Freeman’s ensuing corner kick, but Nasco dived to his right to save Dimitrov’s glancing header.
New York had the statistical edge in the first half with eight shots to Atlanta’s four, while the Cosmos had four corner kicks to Atlanta’s three.
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