Cosmos climbing

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The New York Cosmos turned in a complete performance in their 3-0 win over the Atlanta Silverbacks at Silverbacks Park Wednesday Night. Sebastian Guenzatti, Gastón Cellerino and Leo Fernandes struck for the visitors, and goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer recorded his 10th clean sheet of the season.

“It was one hundred and fifty percent effort,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “The guys worked very hard today. They played with heart. They wanted to win. They played together and the result was a reflection of the hard work of everyone. We have to maintain this mentality, this effort.”

The Cosmos moved into sole possession of third place in the league’s Fall Season Standings, leapfrogging idle Minnesota United FC, while moving within one point of Ottawa Fury FC in the Combined Standings. Only three games remain in the regular season.

This was the second match of a home-and-home between New York and Atlanta. The sides played to a 1-1 draw at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium Sunday. The Cosmos (7-6-4) grinded out Wednesday’s critical win without Spanish superstars Raúl and Marcos Senna.

First Guenzatti made the Silverbacks (6-6-5) pay for their high pressure with a penetrating run toward the goal, cutting inside of an Atlanta defender 16 yards from goal before putting a low shot back inside the near post in the 29th minute.

“We said before the game we couldn’t lose,” Guenzatti said. “We want to finish on top and I think the attitude from the team, from the first minute, we gave everything. That’s why we came up with a big win.”

Cellerino scored his first goal in a Cosmos uniform in the 54th minute to give the Cosmos a 2-0 lead. The powerful Argentine forward made a strong run into space before putting a low shot on frame that Silverbacks goalkeeper Stewart Ceus dove to his left to push away at the six-yard box.

Cellerino, though, would not be denied and pulled around an Atlanta defender before putting his own rebound inside the far post.

“When a striker scores goals, it gives him more confidence. It’s a very positive thing for a striker because it motivates him to keep on working,” Savarese said. “We’re very pleased with the work he does day after day. He was rewarded tonight with a goal.”

With the game still very much in the balance, Maurer came up with a spectacular double save in the 68th minute to keep the hosts off the scoreboard.

“That was amazing,” Guenzatti said. “I haven’t seen one of those in a long time. We celebrated like it was a goal. Jimmy is like a cat.”

Fernandes put the finishing touches on the victory, settling the ball before blasting a shot from 16 yards out into the net two minutes from full time to give the Cosmos a 3-0 lead. It was his eighth goal of the season.

“We were more aggressive in the final third, we were more decisive, as you could see we tried to shoot a lot more from further out, we made better runs,” Savarese said. “It was very positive.”

In their third game in eight days, the Cosmos host FC Edmonton this Sunday. It’ll be a 5 p.m. ET kickoff at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

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