June 17, 2015
IT'S MAURER TO THE RESCUE
Goalkeeper makes 3 big saves in shootout win
By Michael Lewis
|Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer stopped three out of six penalty kicks in the shootout.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- Down the stretch of the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup encounter with New York City FC, Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Mauer was called on to make a pair of key saves.
Maurer wasn't certain if those two vital stops helped him in the subsequent shootout, but it certainly did not hurt.
"Sports is a confidence game, a rhythm game," he said. "Getting those saves more than anything kept us in it to get to that point. Any time as a goalkeeper you get to PKs, you're excited. Finally a chance to be the hero instead of caching all of the blame."
Oh, Mauer played hero, all right, during the penalty-kick tie-breaker. He denied punched away Ned Grabavoy's attempt, stopped Patrick Mullins's try and made a two-handed save on the Major League Soccer team's final PK before Hunter Gorskie slotted home the game-winner in the sixth round at Shuart Stadium. That gave the Cosmos a 4-3 shootout win after playing to a 2-2 tie in regulation and extratime.
Asked what his philosophy was on penalties, Maurer replied, "I really try to make sure the ball doesn't cross the line."
That elicited laughter from the assembled media. Then he got serious.
"There's a lot of guessing involved," he said. "I would like to know what type of player it is. If it’s a crafty player, a lot of times they like to cut you. If it's a big strong player, sometimes they try to smash through. You try to read tendencies and in the last second you just got to go with your gut, whichever way you're feeling and just push 100 percent."
Maurer also did some gamesmanship by handling the ball in an effort to get the opposing shooter off his game.
"That's my routine. I've been doing it for years," he said. "Just kind of gets me comfortable. Just take a big breath, close my eyes when I get back to the line and just get ready to go from there."
Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese called Mauer's penalty-kick performance "outstanding."
"It doesn't come as a surprise that he was big on the PKs," he added. "He's been confident. Last year he matured."
Maurer's shootout heroics capped a remarkable comeback by the Cosmos, who trailed 1-0 at the half and 2-0 in the second half. He never lost confidence in his teammates that they would be able to come back.
"To be honest, we've done it before this year gave us a lot of confidence, even at that point, even at halftime, we realized we knew we played well in the first half. They had gotten one counter and one goal and that was it. They really didn't have a lot of chances. So we knew if we sharpened up a big and kept pushing, things would go turn our way if we get going the way we were going."
This wasn't the first time this season the Cosmos came back from a two-goal deficit. They accomplished the feat in a 2-2 draw at the Carolina RailHawks on May 16.
"We're just keeping it interesting, I guess," Mauer said. "We're just keeping the fans entertained. Seriously, it just goes with the character in the locker room that the guys are willing to fight no matter what. We're a close group. People throw the word the family around a lot. It's a cliché. We're all very close. The least amount of fighting I have ever seen on a professional club shows in moments like this. If things aren't going well, we still stick together and put in the fight."