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Cosmos still perfect at home after beating Puerto Rico FC

Cosmos' Lucky Mkosana controls the ball against Puerto

Cosmos' Lucky Mkosana controls the ball against Puerto Rico FC during first half at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium on Saturday, July 30, 2016. Credit: Brad Penner

The Cosmos have been the North American Soccer League’s most successful team since returning to action in 2013 and dominance at home has been a major reason.

A first-half own goal and second-half scores from Juan Arango and Lucky Mkosana lifted the Cosmos to a 3-0 win over Puerto Rico FC Saturday night at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, as the hosts maintained their perfect home record. They are 8-0-0 this season at home, 10-6-1 overall, and 4-2-1 in the NASL’s fall campaign.

“We know when we play at home that we have to take advantage. There’s a different energy and we felt it today,” coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We had a decent first half, a very good second half, and a strong finish, which we needed to have.”

Despite a sluggish start, the Cosmos got on the board in the 16th minute thanks to an own goal from Puerto Rico defender Cristiano Dias. Lucky Mkosana put a dangerous cross into the box toward Yasmani Duk, but before it reached the striker, Dias deflected it into his own net.

The Cosmos came out sharper after halftime, creating a number of good chances in the early minutes of the second half. They put the game on ice in the 84th minute when Arango headed in a Mkosana cross. Arango would then set up Mkosana for the Cosmos’ third goal, launching a brilliant long ball in stoppage time that Mkosana controlled, before rounding the keeper and putting the ball in the net.

Puerto Rico FC, which is owned by the Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony, fell to 1-3-2 in the fall season.

Since returning to the field for the first time since the 1980s during the 2013 fall season, the Cosmos have earned a league-best 157 points and won league titles in 2013 and 2015. At Shuart Stadium, they are 30-6-8 with a plus-49 goal differential.

Notes & quotes: The win is also the Cosmos’ 10th straight at home, dating to last season, setting a league record (the league began play in 2011).

New York Sports