HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – The New York Cosmos earned New York bragging rights and a trip to the fifth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over the Red Bulls at Shuart Stadium Saturday night.
The Red Bulls, according to coach Mike Petke, earned a much-needed break.
“We have vacation: It’s over,” Red Bulls coach Mike Petke said. “We have vacation. The guys need it.”
The Red Bulls were without several starters, especially up the spine of the field with Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave sitting out because of Shuart Stadium's artificial surface, as well as Tim Cahill and Roy Miller (World Cup duty) and Dax McCarty (knee surgery).
The Cosmos, too, were missing standout midfielder Marcos Senna (groin strain) as well as Brazilian defender Roversio and forward Diomar Diaz, also out because of injuries.
But it was the defending North American Soccer League champions who took the game to the Red Bulls from the opening kickoff. The Cosmos dominated possession and had a 21-3 edge in shots, including 9-0 in the second half.
“Unbelievable, 3-0 against the Red Bulls is unbelievable,” the Cosmos' Italian striker Alessandro Noselli said.
Mads Stokkelien scored a brace, including a spectacular strike on eight minutes that set the tone for the rest of the game. The Norwegian took a long ball down the right side from Carlos Mendes and fired a volley off the bounce into the upper right corner of the net.
“I think they were a little bit shocked of our start,” Stokkelien said. “We had a lot of chances in the first half. We could have scored two or three goals.”
Stokkelien made it 2-0 in the 73rd minute, latching onto a Danny Szetela cross and placing his first-time attempt inside the far post. Five minutes later, Noselli took the ball off Stokkelien’s chest and beat Meara with a low shot from 12 yards.
“I think definitely it was a strong performance by the guys,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “They did all the things we asked them to do, from being tactically very organized, being aggressive in pressuring the ball, attacking the spaces, getting into the box, they created chances and the guys were able to put three away.”
The first meeting between the teams had the feel of a real derby with a crowd of 9,364 singing and chanting for both sides.
But the Cosmos placed a greater emphasis on winning, according to Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, and that is why they are moving on to the fifth round of the competition.
“We knew this was going to be like a World Cup game for them, and we knew they were going to come out,” Sam said. “ We were intending to match that, and they were better than us today. That’s all there is.”