By Dylan Butler
Danny Szetela struck in the eighth minute to give the surging New York Cosmos a 1-0 halftime lead over the Carolina RailHawks Saturday night at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University.
The Cosmos jumped in front on the game’s first quality scoring chance for either side when Szetela scored his first goal of the season.
Diomar Diaz sent a low cross into the box where Szetela put a first-time shot past Carolina goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald and inside the far post from 14 yards out.
After Diaz was taken down, Marcos Senna put a 26-yard free kick over the RailHawks wall and on target. Fitzgerald couldn’t corral the ball, which pounced out to Carlos Mendes, whose rebound was saved in the 16th minute.
Two minutes later, Diaz followed Senna’s blocked shot in the box with a 20-yard attempt that deflected out for New York’s first corner kick.
Senna had another free kick in the 21st minute, a screamer from 30 yards out, that Fitzgerald saved.
Carolina had its first chance to equalize in the 29th minute when Hunter Freeman was called for a handball deep in New York’s defensive third. Kenney Walker put his free kick through the box before it was knocked away by Freeman for the RailHawks first corner kick.
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese went with the same starting XI in back-to-back games for the first time all season Saturday night.
The top-of-the-table Cosmos have won four straight games and are unbeaten in seven since suffering their lone loss at Carolina Aug. 17.
Carolina, embroiled in a four-way tie for second with Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Fort Lauderdale, has not won on the road in 13 games.
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