Cosmos top Italians, setting up match vs. Red Bulls

Cosmos' Jimmy Ockford celebrates his goal against the Cosmos' Jimmy Ockford celebrates his goal against the Brooklyn Italians on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 at St. John's University. Photo Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

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Local soccer fans will get an opportunity to experience on June 14 what the rest of the world already knows when two local rivals clash.

For the very first time, the Cosmos will play the Red Bulls in what is called a derby -- pronounced darby -- in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup.

The Cosmos held up their part of the bargain Wednesday night, recording a 2-0 third-round win over the Brooklyn Italians before 1,851 chilly fans at Belson Stadium at St. John's.

In their second year back in the North American Soccer League, the Cosmos are the new kids on the block and are eager to make a name for themselves against the established Major League Soccer.

"It would be great to go out and beat an MLS team," said defender Jimmy Ockford, who scored in his Cosmos debut. "We can definitely do it."

The Cosmos already have one booster in Italians coach Lucio Russo.

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"They can go all the way," he said. "If they just make a few changes with [Marcos] Senna coming back and some of the other players . . . they can beat any MLS team."

The game pits the second division Cosmos against the first tier Red Bulls.

"We don't have to prove anything to Red Bulls," Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. "We just have to come and play, do our game and that's all. It's not about first, second division. We represent a very important organization, which is one of the most renowned organizations in the world. We're just going to come with the group to play another match."

Ockford headed home an Ayoze cross in the 16th minute. Including exhibitions, He has scored three goals in four matches, a superb strike rate for a defender.

"He did his job tonight. He defended very well," Savarese said. "If he can contribute on top, that's a plus."

Russo hoped his team could hold off the Cosmos longer.

"I told the team that if we could hold them for 30 minutes, we would have chance," he said. "Then they would start thinking, 'My God. What are we doing here? What's going on?'"

Hagog Chirishian made it more difficult in the 30th minute, putting in a rebound of Alessnadro Noselli's shot.

The Italians also made it more difficult on themselves as Salvatore Barone (53rd minute) and Yannick Diese (82nd) accrued their second yellow cards, forcing them to finish the match with nine players.

The Cosmos learned that Senna's groin injury will keep him out of Saturday's game at Fort Lauderdale.

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"We hope he recuperates quicker than expected," Savarese said. "Hopefully, he will be back very soon."

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