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Just in time: Cosmos score late, draw with North Carolina

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He seized his moment.

Cosmos sub Kalif Alhassan scored his first goal of the season in the closing moments of the match on June 10, pushing his squad to a 2–2 draw with North Carolina FC at MCU Park. Alhassan came onto the pitch in the 60th minute and his sent the home crowd into a frenzy, erasing what would have been a frustrating loss for the Cosmos.

“We know that Alhassan can bring some magic into the game,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He’s that player that has flair, creativity; he came into the match to bring that into it. He found a fantastic goal, a beautiful goal.”

Both teams got off to a stellar start offensively. The Cosmos struck first, on a seventh-minute goal by forward Irvin Herrera. Herrera received a pass from Spanish defender Ayoze from just outside the six-yard box, and he was able to neatly find the back of the net to put the Cosmos out in front.

The goal was Herrera’s second in as many games, and the El Salvadorian forward appears to be finding his form after struggling early in his Cosmos career.

But the Cosmos’ lead wouldn’t last long. North Carolina tied the game just four minutes later on a goal from forward Billy Schuler, who connected with a strike after Cosmos goalie Jimmy Maurer attempted to clear a corner kick.

“For me I always feel like there’s something I could do. Any time the ball goes in the net there’s something I could have done better,” Maurer said of the goal.

In the closing minutes of the first half, New York missed three scoring opportunities, and ultimately North Carolina took advantage. The Cosmos went into the break down 2–1 after Lance Laing found the back of the net on a free kick in the 45th minute.

“For us the most important thing was to keep our composure, which we did,” Savarese said.

As the second half got going, the story felt like more of the same for New York. Andres Flores had the Cosmos’ best chance in the 63rd minute, but his shot, on a cross from Jimmy Mulligan, sailed wide.

The Cosmos again had an opportunity to tie things up in the 82nd minute, when Herrera fired a shot that appeared destined for the back of the net, but was blocked by a Carolina defender at the goal line.

Finally, Alhassan scored the Cosmos’ much-needed goal on a chip shot in the 84th minute. It wasn’t the prettiest, but it tied up the game and secured the point for New York.

The Cosmos had a few chances to steal a win in the closing minutes of the match and during stoppage time, but couldn’t capitalize.

“We had tons of opportunities to be able to win the game,” Savarese said. “But I think sometimes we have to see the positive side and the positive side is that at least we found that goal that gave us a point today.”

New York will next be in action on June 16, when they complete their three-game home stand against Puerto Rico F.C.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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