As the highest-scoring team in the North American Soccer League, the Cosmos’ reputation precedes itself as the most dangerous team.
Last night they reminded everyone how well they can perform behind the ball when the pressure is on them.
With goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer playing his finest game of the season, the Cosmos recorded a 1-0 victory over Minnesota United before 3,318 at Shuart Stadium.
David Diosa struck for the lone goal in the 32nd minute before Maurer provided the defensive heroics with a six-save performance. He also extended his personal shutout streak to 354 minutes with his third consecutive clean sheet and 11th overall.
The Cosmos also continued their late-summer surge by extending their unbeaten streak to eight games (6-0-2) and home undefeated streak to 18 (16-0-2). They also solidified their lead atop the overall and fall tables (15-6-3, 48 points; 9-2-3, 30) with six games remaining in the regular season.
“It’s not only three points for us, it was three points away from Minnesota,” coach Giovanni Savarese said. “Our guys did a fantastic job.”
Maurer was magnificent when it counted during a six-minute span late in the match against a difficult Minnesota side (10-8-6, 36; 5-4-5, 20), which is in fourth place in both standings.
“He’s always big when we need him,” Diosa said.
“It’s been an up-and-down year,” Maurer said. “The last three weeks of training was very good.”
First, Maurer tipped a 12-yard blast by league-leading goal-scorer Christian Ramirez over the net in the 75th minute before denying former New York City FC midfielder Jeb Brovsky on a bang-bang play in the penalty area in the 81st minute.
“He made incredible saves today that were crucial for us,” Savarese said. “Jimmy definitely had a tremendous match. He made two or three that were quality, quality saves.”
Maurer also had some help from the woodwork and his teammates.
Lance Laing, a thorn in the Cosmos’ side, smacked a 35-yard free kick off the crossbar in the 37th minute. Right back Jimmy Mulligan produced a goal-saving tackle on Laing in the penalty area after the Jamaican international rounded Maurer in the 55th minute.
“It kind of summed up the game,” Maurer said. “There was always someone there to make the second play.”
Diosa broke the ice in the 32nd minute with a spectacular goal, his third of the year. Ruben Bover fed him a right-wing cross and an open Diosa volleyed the ball home from a difficult angle on the left side of the penalty area into the far post past goalkeeper Sammy Ndjock.
“Fantastic pass,” Savarese said. “The timing was perfect to find the ball. He scored a fantastic goal.”