NASL: Arrieta's goal sparks NY Cosmos to a 2-0 win over Jacksonville Armada FC

It was Star Wars Night at Hofstra University’s Shuart Stadium, and the force was definitely with the New York Cosmos.

Although the chances did not come in droves for the Cosmos in the first half, New York was able to capitalize on their best opportunity. Jairo Arrieta scored his first goal as a member of the Cosmos to spark his squad to a 2-0 victory over Jacksonville Armada FC in front of a crowd of 3,685 on Sunday evening.

The defending NASL champions improve to 2-0-0 on the young season and remain atop the standings with six points and a three-goal advantage on the Carolina RailHawks in goal differential. 

In the 29th minute, Jimmy Maurer played a ball deep inside Jacksonville Armada FC’s territory that was proceeded by a Juan Arango header into space for Arrieta. The Costa Rican didn’t squander his chance. The forward blasted a one-timer off the body of Armada goalie Miguel Gallardo that trickled past the goal line for the go-ahead tally.

Arrieta earned Emirates Man of the Match honors.

Early on in the second half, halftime substitute Adam Moffat who replaced an injured Ruben Bover, scored to give the Cosmos some breathing room.

In the 55th minute, newly acquired Niko Kranjčar found a wide-open Moffat at the edge of the penalty area. The Scottish midfielder welcomed the look with a blast to the far side and past Gallardo for a 2-0 advantage. 

Arango and Arrieta have been pivotal signings thus far for New York. 

Arango has two goals and an assist, while Arrieta has notched an assist and today’s goal through the first two games. Arango was named the Emirates Cosmos Man of the Match and NASL Player of the Week last week after notching two goals in their 3-0 victory over Ottawa.

The pair nearly combined for a third Cosmos goal in the 90th minute when Arrieta weaved through defenders and left the ball for Arango. However, the ensuing shot was deflected and was blocked by only the crossbar.

The matchup between Jacksonville and New York had special significance outside of the Star Wars-themed promotional night. It was a coaching matchup between two former teammates, Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese and first-year Armada coach Tony Meola.

The pair played together on the 1995 Long Island Rough Riders championship team in the United States Interregional Soccer League, then later played together for the New York/New Jersey MetroStars from 1996-1998.

As for Jacksonville, despite 13 new acquisitions including former Ottawa Fury FC captain Richie Ryan and the United Soccer League’s leading goal scorer from last season, Matt Fondy, and a clear advantage in corner kicks, the Armada were unable to get many solid opportunities on Jimmy Maurer.

Maurer picked up his second consecutive clean sheet.

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