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Cosmos edge NYC FC on penalty kicks

New York Cosmos defender Hunter Gorskie reacts after

New York Cosmos defender Hunter Gorskie reacts after scoring the final penalty kick against New York City FC during penalty kicks of a game at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium on Wednesday, June 17, 2015. Credit: Brad Penner

The so-called "East River Derby'' may lack the history of world soccer's famous rivalries, but there was no shortage of drama Wednesday night in the first meeting between New York City FC and the Cosmos.

Hunter Gorskie converted the winning penalty kick in a shootout to lead the Cosmos over NYC FC in the fourth round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup in front of 11,446 fans at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.

The Cosmos won the penalty shootout, 4-3, thanks in part to Jimmy Maurer's three saves.

Lucky Mkosana scored for the Cosmos in the 90th minute to tie the match at 2, and despite a frantic overtime period, which included a missed penalty kick by NYC FC's Pablo Alvarez, the match headed to penalties.

"This team just has a tremendous belief in what were doing and in each other,'' Gorskie said. "No matter what the situation is, we're confident we're going to get back in it.''

Kwadwo Poku scored goals in the 24th and 57th minutes to give NYC FC a 2-0 lead, before Leo Fernandes got the Cosmos on the board in the 64th minute.

The Cosmos, the last North American Soccer League team left in the Cup, advanced to the round of 16 on June 30 and July 1, and will know their opponents after Thursday's draw.

The US Open Cup is a 102-year-old knockout tournament that involves all professional teams affiliated with the United States Soccer Federation, as well as a number of amateur clubs.

"For us, there's a big emphasis on the Open Cup,'' Gorskie said. "Obviously, playing a quality side, an MLS side, there's a little extra in that.''

The Cosmos, who play in the second-division NASL, also knocked out MLS' Red Bulls at this stage of the competition last season.

Poku's first goal was one for the highlight reel. After left back RJ Allen played a ball into the center of the penalty area, Poku kneed the ball in the air to himself and converted on a bicycle kick.

After his second goal, it looked as if NYC FC would coast to the next round, but Mkosana would assist on Fernandez's goal, and score himself off Hunter Freeman's cross to force overtime.

"Even if things aren't going well,'' Maurer said, "we stick together and put in the fight.''

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