U.S. Soccer

U.S. WNT Routs Mexico 8-0 as Hope Solo Earns Record 72nd Clean Sheet

SANDY, Utah (Sept. 13, 2014) – The U.S. Women’s National Team rolled over Mexico in the first of a two-game set against its CONCACAF foe, scoring four goals in each half to win 8-0 at Rio Tinto Stadium.

Alex Morgan scored two goals and assisted three others.  Abby Wambach also recorded a brace and goalkeeper Hope Solo earned the clean sheet to break the U.S. WNT record with the 72nd shutout of her career. Solo surpassed the previous shut-out mark of 71 held by Briana Scurry.

The U.S. played a dominant and well-rounded match as second-half subs Whitney Engen, Sydney Leroux and Heather O’Reilly added goals, and the U.S. benefited from an own goal in the opening minutes.

The USA and Mexico meet again on Thursday, Sept. 18, at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York (7 p.m. ET on ESPN2 and Watch ESPN with and a delayed broadcast at 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT on Univision Deportes Network). These matches serve as the USA’s final preparation heading into CONCACAF Women’s Championship, which starts in mid-October.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Own Goal (Alina Garciamendez), 11th minute: The U.S. WNT earned a gift early on when Alex Morgan’s lead pass toward Abby Wambach was skipped to Garciamendez. Though she was able to intercept, Garciamendez’s attempted clear deflected over Mexico goalkeeper Cecilia Santiago who was well off her line, bounced once and crossed the goal line. USA 1, MEX 0 

USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan), 23rd minute: Megan Rapinoe set up the sequence with a dish to Morgan down the left sideline. Morgan brought the ball toward the end line, and despite having her first cross blocked, calmly set up Wambach with a second pass just outside the six-yard box. Wambach’s left-footed shot got through the Mexico defense and past Cecilia Santiago to signal a long night for Mexico. USA 2, MEX 0 

USA – Alex Morgan (unassisted), 36th minute: Mexico defender Bianca Sierra made a shaky decision on a lofted pass toward her own box. The ball bounced off her chest as she retreated toward her own goal and Morgan, who was running alongside her, won the ball and sent a right-footed chip over Santiago into the net. USA 3, MEX 0

USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan), 41st minute: The USA kept its foot on the gas as Morgan had plenty of space on the right side of the box. She crossed, and even though Cecilia Santiago managed to get a fingertip on the ball, it was not enough to push the ball out of the path of Wambach who slotted it home for the 170th tally of her career and the seventh of this year. USA 4, MEX 0 

USA – Alex Morgan (Christen Press), 56th minute: A quick passing sequence found Press in the right side of the box and she sent a smooth-rolling pass to Morgan near the right post. She slotted home with her right foot to open the second-half scoring. USA 5, MEX 0

USA – Whitney Engen (Christen Press), 58th minute: Off of Megan Rapinoe’s corner kick from the right side, Press rose among the pack and headed to the right side of the goal box. Engen delivered her snap header into the upper right corner for her first goal of the year and second of her career. USA 6, MEX 0

USA – Sydney Leroux (Lauren Holiday), 71st minute:  Second-half sub Leroux, the team’s leading goal scorer in 2014, got into the act on a set piece chance. Holiday took the right-footed corner kick from the left side and her driven cross was met by Leroux who powered her header home from the top of the six-yard box. USA 7, MEX 0

USA – Heather O’Reilly (Alex Morgan), 75th minute:  Lauren Holiday played a superb through ball to Morgan on the left side of the box. Though Mexico’s defense deflected Morgan’s first cross attempt, Morgan stuck with it and found O’Reilly for a left-footed shot from six yards out to cap off the scoring. USA 8, MEX 0 (FINAL) 

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
MEX – Cecilia Santiago, 45th minute: The scoring damage had already been done, but Mexico’s 19-year-old goalkeeper tried to keep Mexico’s faint hopes alive with a diving save just before halftime. Megan Rapinoe rocketed a right-footed shot from about 17 yards out, and her attempt to the near left post was parried away by Santiago for a USA corner kick. 

MEX – Cecilia Santiago, 52nd minute: From 20 yards out, Alex Morgan launched a left-footed shot headed toward the near right side of the frame, but Santiago smothered it with the diving save to her left. 

Milestone Watch:

  • Hope Solo’s U.S. record 72 clean sheets have been posted over 154 games starting in 2000. Briana Scurry’s previous record of 71 shutouts were accumulated over 173 matches.
  • Solo’s first cap and shutout in April of 2000 was also an 8-0 match, that win over Iceland.
  • Center back Christie Rampone played in her 296th match as she continues to inch closer to 300 caps. Only Kristine Lilly has appeared in more games for the USA (352 games from 1987-2010).
  • Abby Wambach upped her all-time record goal scoring total to 170 with her brace. She is now 12 goals ahead of the legendary Mia Hamm (158 goals from 1987-2004).
  • With her two assists to Wambach, Alex Morgan now has 31 for her career. That moves her ahead of Lauren Holiday for 12th on the all-time list.
  • Carli Lloyd played in her 175th match. With her next appearance, Lloyd will tie Shannon MacMillan for 12th on the USA’s all-time list. MacMillan had 176 caps from 1993-2005.
  • Morgan is currently 10th on the all-time goal scoring list with 48 following Saturday’s brace. Morgan sits three goals behind Lloyd.

Next on the Schedule:
The U.S. WNT and Mexico square off in a rematch on Thursday, Sept. 18, at Sahlen’s Stadium in Rochester, New York (7 p.m. ET).

Broadcast information: ESPN2, WatchESPN

Social: Twitter (@ussoccer_wnt | @ussoccer_esp); Facebook; Instagram

Additional Notes:

  • The USA is now 9-2-3 in 2014.
  • Hope Solo moved to 119-9-18 for her career. She is second only to Briana Scurry for all-time wins (Scurry went 133-12-14 from 1994-2008).
  • The USA improved to 109-2-8 when Abby Wambach scores a goal.
  • The U.S. is now 28-1-1 all-time against Mexico.
  • U.S. head coach Jill Ellis’ starting lineup featured Hope Solo in goal and a defensive group of Meghan Klingenberg at left back, Stephanie Cox at right back and Becky Sauerbrunn and Christine Rampone as the center backs. Rampone wore the captain’s armband.
  • The midfield corps in the 4-3-3 included Megan Rapinoe on the left side, Lauren Holiday on the right and Carli Lloyd in the center.
  • The USA’s front line included Christen Press, Alex Morgan and Abby Wambach.
  • To open the second half, Ellis made two defensive substitutions with Crystal Dunn replacing Cox and Whitney Engen in for Sauerbrunn.
  • In the 60th minute, Sydney Leroux, Tobin Heath and Heather O’Reilly were brought in for Rapinoe, Wambach and Press, respectively.
  • Morgan Brian served as the final substitution for Lloyd in the 71st minute.
  • Sauerbrunn, Press and O’Reilly are the only U.S. WNT players to have seen action in all 14 matches in 2014.

-U.S. Women’s National Team Report-

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Sept. 13, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT
Attendance: 8,849
Weather: 79 degrees, mostly sunny

Scoring Summary:   1      2      F
USA                               4      4      8
MEX                               0      0      0                                                       

USA – Own Goal (Alina Garciamendez)                  12th minute
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)                    23
USA – Alex Morgan                                                         36
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)                    41
USA – Alex Morgan (Christen Press)                       56
USA – Whitney Engen (Christen Press)                  58
USA – Sydney Leroux (Lauren Holiday)                  71
USA – Heather O’Reilly (Alex Morgan)                   75

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 14-Stephanie Cox (19-Crystal Dunn, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (6-Whitney Engen 46), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 25-Meghan Klingenberg; 12-Lauren Holiday, 10-Carli Lloyd (7-Morgan Brian, 71), 15-Megan Rapinoe (2-Sydney Leroux, 60); 23-Christen Press (9-Heather O’Reilly, 60), 20-Abby Wambach (17-Tobin Heath, 60), 13-Alex Morgan
Substitutions Not Used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago; 2-Arianna Romero, 4-Alina Garciamendez (capt.), 5-Paulina Solis, 13-Bianca Sierra; 6-Liliana Mercado (3-Monica Alvarado, 57), 7-Nayeli Rangel, 10-Stephany Mayor, 11-Kenti Robles (20-Charlyn Corral, 46), 17-Veronica Perez (21-Lizbeth Angeles, 88); 9-Tanya Samarzich (19-Luz Duarte, 67)
Substitutions Not Used: 8-Teresa Noyola, 12-Brissa Rangel, 14-Christina Murillo, 15-Guadalupe Cruzaley, 16-Jazmine Ponce, 18-Jackie Acevedo
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots:  25 / 8
Shots on Goal: 10 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offside: 7 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Lauren Holiday (caution)                 64th minute

Officials:
Referee: Vilma Montez (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Elizabeth Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivonne Ayala (SLV)
Fourth Official: Melissa Borjas (HON)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Hope Solo

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WNT Sep 13, 2014

-U.S. Women’s National Team Report-

Match: U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Mexico
Date: Sept. 13, 2014
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium; Salt Lake City, Utah
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. MT
Attendance: 8,849
Weather: 79 degrees, mostly sunny

Scoring Summary:   1      2      F
USA                            4      4      8
MEX                           0      0      0                                                       

USA – Own Goal (Alina Garciamendez)                  12th minute
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)                    23
USA – Alex Morgan                                                  36
USA – Abby Wambach (Alex Morgan)                    41
USA – Alex Morgan (Christen Press)                       56
USA – Whitney Engen (Christen Press)                  58
USA – Sydney Leroux (Lauren Holiday)                  71
USA – Heather O’Reilly (Alex Morgan)                   75

Lineups:
USA: 1-Hope Solo; 14-Stephanie Cox (19-Crystal Dunn, 46), 4-Becky Sauerbrunn (6-Whitney Engen 46), 3-Christie Rampone (capt.), 25-Meghan Klingenberg; 12-Lauren Holiday, 10-Carli Lloyd (7-Morgan Brian, 71), 15-Megan Rapinoe (2-Sydney Leroux, 60); 23-Christen Press (9-Heather O’Reilly, 60), 20-Abby Wambach (17-Tobin Heath, 60), 13-Alex Morgan
Substitutions Not Used: 24-Ashlyn Harris
Head Coach: Jill Ellis

MEX: 1-Cecilia Santiago; 2-Arianna Romero, 4-Alina Garciamendez (capt.), 5-Paulina Solis, 13-Bianca Sierra; 6-Liliana Mercado (3-Monica Alvarado, 57), 7-Nayeli Rangel, 10-Stephany Mayor, 11-Kenti Robles (20-Charlyn Corral, 46), 17-Veronica Perez (21-Lizbeth Angeles, 88); 9-Tanya Samarzich (19-Luz Duarte, 67)
Substitutions Not Used: 8-Teresa Noyola, 12-Brissa Rangel, 14-Christina Murillo, 15-Guadalupe Cruzaley, 16-Jazmine Ponce, 18-Jackie Acevedo
Head coach: Leonardo Cuellar

Stats Summary: USA / MEX
Shots:  25 / 8
Shots on Goal: 10 / 1
Saves: 1 / 3
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 10 / 10
Offside: 7 / 2

Misconduct Summary:
USA – Lauren Holiday (caution)                 64th minute

Officials:
Referee: Vilma Montez (SLV)
Assistant Referee 1: Elizabeth Aguilar (SLV)
Assistant Referee 2: Ivonne Ayala (SLV)
Fourth Official: Melissa Borjas (HON)

Budweiser Woman of the Match: Hope Solo

U-20 WNT Heads to Camp in San Diego as World Cup Prep Continues

CHICAGO (June 29, 2016) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will come together for a 10-day training camp at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., running from July 6-15 as U.S. head coach Michelle French and the squad continue preparations for the 2016 Women’s World Cup being held in Papua New Guinea from Nov. 13-Dec. 3.

The Final Draw for the tournament was conducted on March 17 and the USA will face France, New Zealand and Ghana in Group C. The U.S. opens the tournament on Monday, Nov. 14 against France at 4 p.m. local time, faces New Zealand on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m., and finishes the group stage against Ghana on Monday, Nov. 21 at 4 p.m.

The 16-team field for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup is strong, featuring Canada, Mexico, the USA, Papua New Guinea, New Zealand, Japan, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

The tournament format will see the 16 nations divided into four groups of four teams. The top two finishers in each group will advance to the quarterfinal stage to be held on Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25. The winners of those games will advance to the tournament semifinals on Tuesday, Nov. 29. The championship and third-place matches are set for Saturday, Dec. 3.

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster by Position:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Rose Chandler (Penn State; Atlanta, Ga.), Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7):
Madeline Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.), Emily Fox (FC Virginia; Ashburn, Va.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Ellie Jean (Penn State; Coventry, Conn.), Natalie Jacobs (Notre Dame; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Taylor Otto (CASL; Apex, N.C.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (7):
Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Katie Cousins (Tennessee; Forest, Va.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio), Courtney Petersen (Virginia; Canton, Mich.), Parker Roberts (Florida; Leawood, Kan.)
FORWARDS (3):
Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.), Jessie Scarpa (North Carolina; Lakeland, Fla.), Ally Watt (Texas A&M; Colorado Springs, Colo.)
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U-20 WNT Jun 29, 2016

By the Numbers: Copa America Recap

The U.S. MNT recorded a fourth-place finish in the Copa America Centenario, equaling its previous best result from 1995, earlier this month. Here's a look at some of the MNT numbers that tell the story of the team's successful run to the final four.

1 – Number of players that played all 540 minutes of the tournament (center back Geoff Cameron). After being replaced in second half stoppage time of the MNT’s 2-1 quarterfinalwin against  Ecuador, Gyasi Zardes officially appeared in 539 minutes

2 – Number of shutouts Brad Guzan recorded. He now has 11 shutouts in 25 career games in official competition

3 – Number of consecutive games Jurgen Klinsmann selected the same starting lineup (during the Group Stage). That phenomenon only happened one other time in the history of the MNT – back in the 1930 World Cup

3 – Number of wins during Copa America Centenario, the most victories by the MNT at a major international tournament outside of the CONCACAF Gold Cup

7 – Number of goals scored by the U.S. during the tournament

8 – Number of points for Clint Dempsey. With three goals and three assists, he was part of six of the MNT’s seven goals at the tournament

10 – Number of cities visited from the time camp opened May 16 to the end of the tournament on June 25. For the record, they were: Miami, Fla.; Bayamon, Puerto Rico; Frisco, Texas; Kansas City, Kan.; Santa Clara, Calif.; Chicago, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Seattle, Wash.; Houston, Texas; Glendale, Ariz.

21 – Number of players used by Klinsmann during  the course of the six tournament matches

23 – Number of saves made by Guzan during his five matches – more than any other goalkeeper in the tournament

36 -  Number of goals by Clint Dempsey in competitive matches. With 52 career international goals, Dempsey sits second all-time in MNT scoring behind only Landon Donovan (57)

41 – Number of days from the start of camp on May 16 to the Third Place Match on June 25

52 – Career wins for Jurgen Klinsmann following the victory against Ecuador.. That count – along with his .646 winning percentage – are good for second all-time on the MNT coaching list

.674 – Career winning percentage for Klinsmann in official competition, with a record of 26-11-6

20,150 – Number of miles traveled from when camp began in Miami on May 16 and ended in Glendale, Ariz., on June 25

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MNT Jun 29, 2016

Chicago, Seattle First Clubs to Punch 2016 U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal Tickets

CHICAGO (June 28, 2016) – The first night of the 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 saw the Chicago Fire and Seattle Sounders FC become the first two sides to book their tickets to the tournament Quarterfinals.

In the night’s two all-MLS Chicago Round of 16 matches, Chicago downed Columbus Crew SC 2-1 on the strength of a David Accam brace, while Seattle saw a superb goalkeeping performance from Tyler Miller guide the team past Real Salt Lake 4-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

The Fire will host the winner between Orlando City SC and Fort Lauderdale Strikers in the tournament Quarterfinals at Toyota Park on July 20, while the Sounders will hit the road to take on the Portland Timbers vs. LA Galaxy winner on a yet-to-be-determined date.

The U.S. Open Cup Round of 16 concludes Wednesday night with six games beginning with 2015 finalist Philadelphia Union hosting New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m. ET. All remaining Round of 16 matches can be seen on ussoccer.com with the exception of the Orlando-Fort Lauderdale match-up.

Chicago Fire (MLS) 2, Columbus Crew SC (MLS) 1
After the two sides played to a 0-0 draw in MLS play back in March, the home club Chicago Fire emphasized the attack from the start and found their breakthrough via star attacker David Accam. The Ghanaian striker put the Fire ahead in the seventh minute when he juked a defender on the left before curling a lovely ball inside the far right post. Accam bagged his second goal of the match in the 30th minute when right back Rodrigo Ramos served a ball to the back post that allowed the Ghanaian an easy, one-time tap-in to give the Fire a 2-0 halftime lead. With some attacking substitutions, Crew SC controlled the possession in the second half, but couldn’t only muster a 79th minute penalty kick from Ethan Finlay following a hand ball in the box.

The victory moved Chicago to its 13th Quarterfinal appearance and improved the club’s record to 27-1-2 in Open Cup matches played in the state of Illinois. The four-time champions will host the winner of Wednesday’s Orlando City SC-Fort Lauderdale Strikers match on July 20.

Real Salt Lake (MLS) 1, Seattle Sounders FC (MLS) 1 (1-4 PKs)
It ultimately took penalty kicks to separate two MLS Western Conference rivals, as Seattle Sounders FC advanced to the U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinals at the expense of Real Salt Lake thanks to the goalkeeping heroics of Tyler Miller on the first night of the 2016 tournament’s Round of 16. Despite a ceaseless bombardment, Seattle’s defense did not concede a goal from the run of play all night, surrendering only a Joao Plata penalty kick in the 43rd minute. Nelson Valdez then leveled matters for the Rave Green soon after the halftime break, and it was a scoreless stalemate the rest of the way to penalties thanks in large part to both goalkeepers making a bushel of terrific saves at either end. The Sounder’s Miller was particularly excellent in goal down the stretch and into the penalty shootout where he gained a measure of revenge on Plata, this time denying the RSL man before also keeping out recently returned RSL captain Kyle Beckerman to set up Erik Friberg for the winning penalty as the Sounders converted all four of their spot kick opportunities. Seattle moves on to its 11th all-time Open Cup Quarterfinal in franchise history, hitting the road to face the winner between Portland Timbers and LA Galaxy on a date to be determined.

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USOC Jun 29, 2016

U.S. WNT Unveils New Nike Home Kit for 2016 Olympics

CHICAGO (June 28, 2016) – The U.S. Women’s National Team will debut a new home kit this summer at the 2016 Olympics that has been developed exclusively by Nike for the reigning Women’s World Cup champions to wear in Brazil. The Olympics-specific jerseys will be available for purchase on July 23 at ussoccerstore.com.

The USA, which has won four of the five Olympic gold medals that have been contested in women’s soccer, will strive to become the first country to win an Olympic Games the year after winning the Women’s World Cup.

The USA’s historic collection of accolades merit the designation of another precious metal: platinum, the gleaming element Nike designers chose to celebrate the team’s illustrious legacy.

The coveted element’s shining hue appears on the new National Team home uniform with Nike AeroSwift technology. The new kit replaces the current home kit’s blue sleeves with platinum-colored sleeves embedded with metallic threads, preserving the performance properties of the kit’s high-performance yarn while producing an iridescent gleam.

A blue left-side stripe and red right-side stripe run the length of the shirt and matching white shorts. Expanding when a player is in motion, the stripes maximize ventilation and reveal a contrasting flash of underlying red and blue, respectively.

To align with the Olympic tournament’s uniform regulations, the U.S. Soccer Federation crest will be replaced by vibrant blue gloss “USA” lettering. Created using Light-Flex technology, it appears on the left chest of the shirt and right hem of the short.

The same material articulates the Swoosh and the hue reappears on the kit’s custom socks. Gradually fading from white to blue, the socks extend color to the player’s boot of choice from the exclusive Women’s Spark Brilliance Pack, which features the red-white-blue Hypervenom, Mercurial and Tiempo colorways designed to integrate with the uniforms for a complete head-to-toe look. The team’s away kit will remain the same, with the USA typeface also replacing the crest.

The USA will resume to wearing its current home kit following the Olympic Games.

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Jun 28, 2016

Cosmos Set Sights on Competing with America's Best Clubs

The U.S. Open Cup means everything to the New York Cosmos. It is a chance to compete at the top level of American soccer. It is an opportunity to measure their talents to those in Major League Soccer. It is a chance to fly the banner of the North American Soccer League. 

And it is also a chance to honor their rich heritage by advancing through the tournament and representing North America in the CONCACAF Champions League tournament. 

That last goal is quite lofty (even for an MLS side). But since 2013, the New York Cosmos have modeled themselves as a first-class organization that just so happens to be in the second tier of the American soccer pyramid. And once a year, the U.S. Open Cup gives them the chance to prove themselves against the best teams in the country.

"It's a good thermometer to see where we are," Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese explains. "We can show we can compete. It's more than clear this Cup is important for us but it is also a tough tournament to make it all the way through.

"We take every competition seriously. We want to compete outside of the U.S. and this gives us a chance to compete in the CONCACAF Champions League. And also, this gives us a chance to play against good teams -- not just the teams in NASL, but the teams in MLS that are competing in the U.S. Open Cup."

Despite never advancing past the Round of 16, the Cosmos have proven their worth against MLS competition. In five head-to-head matches against MLS teams, the Cosmos have won or advanced in three.

But it isn't just victories over MLS teams that the Cosmos are proud of -- it's the opponents who they have taken out along the way. Four of their five Open Cup matches to date have come in the form of local derbies. The Cosmos have won three of those encounters, and their most recent win was one they savored.


The Cosmos (NASL) defeated cross-town rivals New York City (MLS) 1-0 in the 2016 U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round.

Going into enemy territory in Fordham's Jack Coffey Stadium, the Cosmos fought back against a driven NYCFC side in a blue-heavy road environment to take the victory on a late game winner from Danny Szetela. It is the second consecutive year that the Cosmos have faced and beaten NYCFC in the competition -- a fact this club is proud to tout.

"The feeling's great because it's two New York teams, the East River Derby," Szetela said after the match. "We want to be Kings of New York.

"I think it shows an NASL side can do well in the Open Cup. Our goal has been set from the beginning of the year to win it and I think we can compete with any team in MLS."

"We said it from the beginning -- these derbies are very important," Savarese adds. "They are what allows the sport to grow in this area and this country."

The Round of 16 brings a different challenge for the Cosmos. This time, they face the New England Revolution -- a side taken to the limit by fellow NASL-ers Carolina RailHawks in a dogged 1-0 extra time victory on June 15. The last time the Cosmos faced a non-New York side, they were ousted as the Philadelphia Union earned a 2-1 extra time win at this stage in 2014.

This year, the Cosmos have won the right to host. While the match won't be at their typical home of Shuart Stadium, they will travel to the familiar confines of St. John's 2,500 seat Belson Stadium for what promises to be an intimate and contentious battle.

A win against New England would push the club to its first-ever U.S. Open Cup Quarterfinal and as one of two remaining NASL sides (Fort Lauderdale Strikers are the other), could earn the club a $15,000 cash prize as the furthest advancing Division II side for the second year in a row.

"Every game becomes more difficult. Every game is more challenging. Every MLS club will be difficult and I expect this match to be a tough one, like New York City Football Club," Savarese said. "New England has a different style of play. We are analyzing how to play against them. Playing at home is a positive thing as well and the team understands the difficulty of the match and are motivated to compete and keep advancing.

"We are very competitive by nature. We want to do well. We want to make sure this club is represented in the best possible way, to respect the past but create a new future. And with that, to help U.S. Soccer in any way possible, to help people care more about the U.S. Open Cup, for youngsters to be more prepared for the national team. All those things are important."

"I love the pressure," adds Szetela. "It makes you play better and proves to people we can be successful --even if we are in the NASL."

Photos courtesy of New York City FC.
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USOC Jun 28, 2016
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