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Cosmos Make a Statement in First New York Derby

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

For the New York Cosmos, Saturday night's first ever New York Derby was a complete success.

A larger crowd packed in Shuart Stadium, the press box was packed with media, the atmosphere was great, and the Cosmos dominated the rival New York Red Bulls in a 3-0 victory over the MLS Club.

It was total domination for NASL side in the first ever New York Derby. The Cosmos outshot, outworked and outscored their opponent. For 90 minutes the Cosmos gave everything they had against a Red Bulls squad that looked disinterested for much of the contest.

And it only took eight minutes for Mad Stokkelien -- the Cosmos leading scorer -- to put one behind Red Bulls Keeper Ryan Meara, on a shot that was not only impressive for its precision, but as well for the perfect over the top pass from Carlos Mendes.

Stokkelien added another goal in the 73rd minute and Alessandro Noselli scored in the 78th to put the game out of reach, but it had really been out of reach for quite some time prior to that. The Cosmos kept the Red Bulls to just three shots the entire game, only one of which made it on net.

Captain Carlos Mendes said it took "a team effort" to hold the Red bulls at bay.

"Everybody did well. I give a lot of credit to everybody in front of us who mad our jobs on the back four a lot easier," Mendes said. "The midfield did a great job. Jo Jo, Danny, everybody. Just closing everything down. Closing the space and that's why they didn't have too many shots honestly."

Red Bulls Head Coach Mike Petke was correct when said the Cosmos played like it was the World Cup. They played with heart and determination, and knew what the game meant for the organization.

"Today for us was maybe the most important game in the last 30 years," Noselli explained. "3-0 against the Red Bulls is unbelievable. I don't know in the future, but today maybe we are the best team in New York. I know the Red Bulls miss Cahill, miss Henry and miss other players. I know, but they play in MLS. We play in NASL, but we won 3-0."

The Cosmos believed all along they could beat the Red Bulls. They had said so themselves in the days leading up to the head-to-head with their new found MLS rivals. And the Cosmos played like winners on Saturday night.

The Red Bulls and their fans may try to down play the loss, but for the Cosmo the game was a statement and true showing that they can run with the Bulls, or anyone else for that matter.