QUEENS, N.Y. -- The Cosmos have a date with the New York Red Bulls.
The NASL squad defeated the Brooklyn Italians of the National Premier Soccer League 2-0 at Belson Stadium in Queens to advance to the fourth round of the US Open Cup. The Cosmos two goals came from Hagop Chirishian and Jimmy Okford, who was making his professional debut.
"It feels great," Okford said about his goal in 16th minute. The Seattle Sounders Loanee was able to head the ball past Italians' keeper Sheldon Parkinson to put the Cosmos up 1-0. "I've been waiting for my opportunity to get in and just try to make myself a presence in the box every chance I get. It worked out this game, so it's exciting."
In the 29th minute Chirishian scored off the rebound. Alessandro Noselli fired a shot inside the box, but it was turned aside and then Chirishian put the rebound into the net. The goal was Chirisian's first of the season.
"It was a good opportunity," He said. "You work hard all season to get a chance to play and then once you get in you give your full effort just to help out the team in every possible way. To get the goal it was a great feeling. On top of that to get it for the Cosmos. Wearing the Cosmos jersey for the first time and getting [my] first goal was a great feeling."
After New York jumped to a two goal lead the contest became more physical and eventually saw two Italians' players ejected from the game after getting called for several yellow cards. The Cosmos kept the Italians from gaining any momentum in the second half and kept Brooklyn to four shots in the second half.
Hans Denissen made his long awaited Cosmos debut in the US Open Cup victory. The offseason acquisition checked into the match in the 76th minute.
Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese was happy with his team's effort in their first US Open Cup match.
"I think first of all we have to say that it was a beautiful night of soccer," Savarese said. "Two organizations that have great tradition and you felt that beautiful atmosphere here at St. John’s in Queens. So, I think from that standpoint it was a success because it was a soccer festival tonight. We were able to have the ball. We were trying to move the ball around. We were able to find two goals, but we have to give credit also to the Brooklyn Italians they fought until the end.
"They tried to make it difficult on us. They tried to be organized. We were able to find the goals in the first half and that allowed us to be able to keep the ball, so I think it was just a good match tonight."
The Cosmos will now play the New York Red Bulls on Saturday, June 14 at Shuart Stadium in the fourth round of the US Open Cup. However, before that match takes place New York will turn its attention back to the NASL Spring season with a match against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers on Saturday evening.