Jacksonville Sports Day

NASL: Cosmos Back In First After Recording With 10th Straight Home Victory

PHOTO BY FORT LAUDERDALE STRIKERS

The defending North American Soccer League (NASL) Champion New York remained dominant at home while Maicon Santos found the back of the net to help the Fort Lauderdale Strikers defeat Jacksonville.

On Saturday night, the Cosmos set a Modern Era NASL record with their 10th straight regular-season home victory dating to last year, winning for the eighth straight time at Shuart Stadium in 2016 in a 3-0 shutout against Puerto Rico FC. New York, which moved back into first place in the Fall Season Standings by a single point over Rayo OKC, has outscored visiting opposition by 14-2 at home this year.

In other Week 5 action, Ottawa Fury FC put itself back into the thick of the Fall Season race with its third straight victory. Miami FC held on for a win over Spring Season Champion Indy Eleven and Rayo OKC and Minnesota United traded goals in second-half injury time in a wild draw.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers 1, Jacksonville Armada FC 0

The Fort Lauderdale Strikers left it late in their final game at Lockhart Stadium before finally breaking through for a victory over Jacksonville Armada FC on Saturday night. The Strikers will play at Central Broward Stadium starting on Aug. 20.

Fort Lauderdale (1-1-4, 4) dominated play in the second half, but had to wait until the 88th minute to put the ball behind Jacksonville (1-1-4, 4) goalkeeper Sean Lewis. Maicon Santos chested and turned on the ball, smashing it past Lewis with his left foot for the game-winner that ended the Strikers’ four-game losing streak. Jacksonville has now lost four straight.

New York Cosmos 3, Puerto Rico FC 0

The New York Cosmos won their eighth game of the year without a loss at Shuart Stadium, defeating Puerto Rico FC on Saturday night, scoring two goals in the game’s final minutes. The win set a league record, which was previously held by the Carolina RailHawks, who had nine home wins in a row in 2011.

New York (4W-1D-2L, 13 points) was the beneficiary of an own goal by Puerto Rico FC (1-1-3, 5) in the 16th minute to take a 1-0 lead. Lucky Mkosana broke down the left flank and hit a crossing ball that seemed destined for a streaking Yasmani Duk. Defender Cristiano Dias had little choice but to lunge for the ball, pushing it past goalkeeper David Meves and into his own goal.

Midfielder Juan Arango iced the contest in the 84th minute, scoring in his third straight game. Arango’s team-leading seventh goal of the season came after some nifty work by Mkosana on the right flank in which he cut the ball back twice before centering to the unmarked Venezuelan star. Mkosana closed the game with his fourth goal of the year on a breakaway in second-half injury time.

Ottawa Fury FC 2, Tampa Bay Rowdies 0

After opening the Fall Season with three losses, Ottawa Fury FC notched its third straight victory, defeating visiting Tampa Bay at TD Place on Saturday night. The win was Fury FC’s third straight by shutout. The Rowdies have dropped a second straight without scoring a goal.

Ottawa (3-0-3, 9) jumped in front before the home crowd had a chance to settle into its seats when Canadian international defender Mallan Roberts scored his first goal in a Fury FC uniform. It came in the game’s second minute, with an assist from Mauro Eustaquio from a set piece. Fury FC went ahead 2-0 in the 36th minute when an intended headed back pass by Tampa Bay (1-2-3, 5) defender Tamika Mkandawire eluded goalkeeper Matt Pickens for an own goal.

Rayo OKC 2, Minnesota United 2

Minnesota United and Rayo OKC each scored goals deep into second-half stoppage time in an improbable 2-2 draw at Miller Stadium on Saturday night.

After a scoreless first half, Rayo OKC (3-3-1, 12) took the lead in the 60th minute. A free kick from Michel was headed by Futty Danso, and then glanced off Devon Sandoval, past Minnesota (3-1-1, 10) goalkeeper Steward Ceus. It was Sandoval’s first goal in a Rayo OKC uniform. The Loons tied the match on Justin Davis’ first goal of the year, in the 71st minute. Danny Cruz hit a long cross from the right that Davis met with a looping header from an extreme angle from about 10 years out.

Christian Ramirez scored his league-leading 12th goal of the year, off an assist from Ibson, and it seemed that the Loons would leave with the full three points. But Danso responded less than a minute later from a pass from Kosuke Kimura to rescue a point for the home team.

Miami FC 2, Indy Eleven 1

Miami FC extended its unbeaten streak to three games, defeating Spring Season Champion Indy Eleven at Ocean Bank Field on Saturday night. It was Indy’s second loss in its last three games.

Miami FC (2-2-1, 8) took a quick 1-0 lead in the fourth minute when Dario Cvitanich scored his sixth goal of the year. From a corner kick, Mason Trafford headed the ball towards the goal, where it deflected off Kwadwo Poku to Cvitanich, who side-footed it past Indy Eleven (3-1-2, 10) goalkeeper Keith Cardona. Cardona got his first start of the year.

Cuban international Ariel Martínez, a second-half substitute, scored a goal in the 85th minute after a beautiful crossfield pass from Blake Smith. Martínez settled the ball, cut it back to his left foot, and powered a shot past Cardona from the top of the penalty area. It proved to be the game-winner when Eamon Zayed pulled one back, his eighth of the year, in the 89th minute for the Eleven.

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