For the third time in as many years, the New York Cosmos were bounced out of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in the Round of 16, this time falling to the New England Revolution, 3-2. Late goals would, once again, be the culprit in denying them passage into the Quarterfinals for the first time.
The Revolution, who last won the tournament in 2007, have rebounded from a one-and-done loss to the Charlotte Independence (USL) last year with back-to-back wins over NASL opponents to earn the club its third trip to the Quarterfinals in the last four years.
The Revs entered the match with a competitive lineup, bringing back primary goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth, Jose Gonçalves and Andrew Farrell on the back line and competitive options in the mid and up top. Key pieces were also available to them on the bench including Lee Nguyen and Kei Kamara.
The Cosmos, to no one’s surprise, committed their full first team to the competition. Roversio received his second competitive start of the season, pairing alongside Carlos Mendes.
The Cosmos had the bulk of possession and chances early on with New England keeping them off the board. An Arango volley in the 15th minute would go high and wide but the midfielder created a dangerous chance in the 27th when he set up an unopposed run by Jairo Arrieta into the box and his shot was denied by Shuttleworth.
The Revolution encountered a setback as starting forward Juan Agudelo suffered an injury and was subbed off in the 32nd minute for Zach Herivaux, the Open Cup hero for their previous round.
New York finally broke through in the 38th minute when Arrieta received a pass in the six, then dropped the ball back to an incoming Ruben Bover who, wide-open, had the time to pick where to slide his shot.
The lead was short-lived as the Revolution struck back just five minutes later. Ruben Bover lost the ball at midfield to Diego Fagundez who sent a pass to Teal Bunbury, who entered the box and created some space against Ayoze before pushing right and firing a rocket over Jimmy Maurer and into the roof of the net.
An error by Jimmy Maurer nearly gave the visitors the lead in the 55th minute. Clearing a ball from his area, it was delivered to the foot of Bunbury who wound up and fired towards the right side of the net. Maurer, still on his six, managed to dash back and get a one-handed parry on the ball.
The Cosmos’ answer to that threat came about a minute later as Arrieta on the left side of the Revolution’s area, sent a ball to Arango at the top center. The Venezuelan chipped a ball to Sebastian Guenzatti who put a touch on the ball before cutting back to strike a low shot past Shuttleworth.
New England responded to their deficit with their second substitution of the night, bringing on offensive threat Kei Kamara for Scott Caldwell in the 61st. Within minutes, Kamara nearly assisted on a goal with his pass to Steve Neumann resulting in a ball just wide of the net.
Shuttleworth kept the visitors in it when Jairo Arrieta broke away from his defenders to chest down a ball and then volley it on net. The goalkeeper was up to the task, knocking it out of bounds and keeping them at a one-goal deficit in the 65th.
The Cosmos opted for a defensive sub in the 74th, bringing on Adam Moffat for Ruben Bover. It would not matter a minute later as Maurer’s goal kick was intercepted and headed by Neumann to Kamara who made a run into the box from the right side. His attempt to cross drew Maurer off his line, but the ball bounced off Roversio’s head and back to Kamara who volleyed it into a now-vacant goal for his first goal this season.
More substitutions followed. The Revolution pushed the attack by bringing on Lee Nguyen for Fagundez in the 77th. The Cosmos also made a pair of subs, bringing on Lucky Mkosana for Yohandry Orozco and Jimmy Ockford for Roversio.
New England put it away in the 83rd when Herivaux brought down Adam Moffat with a tackle, allowing Kamara to pick up the ball and make a run down the middle. With Ayoze in an advanced position, Kamara slid the ball right to Bunbury who went one-on-one with Maurer, hitting it over the keeper for the game-winner.
The Cosmos were presented with a series of opportunities, but were unable to find an equalizer.
“I thought our guys played an excellent match,” shared Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “I think we had the most of the game, created chances. I think we should have been a little more clinical to finish some of these chances. And in the end, when you play at this level, you make the kind of mistakes that we made, you get penalized. And I think that’s what happened at the end of the game. Two of our mistakes, they’re a good team, they put it away and then we found ourselves losing a game we should have won.”
New England’s players had nothing but good things to say about their lower division opponents afterwards.
“The Cosmos are a great team. It was a great matchup…in the US Open Cup it’s always going to be a battle, always going to be a test of character and we came out here and got the job done.” said Teal Bunbury after the game.
“It’s tough, these games aren’t always easy. Playing against a lower side is always tough.” Kamara added while wearing a Cosmos shirt he received in a post-game swap with his former Columbus Crew teammate Danny Szetela.
The loss eliminates the Cosmos from the 2016 Open Cup and brings their record in the US Open Cup to 5-1-3. The Revolution advance and will host the Philadelphia Union in the quarterfinals next month.