Cosmos claw back a point with 3 goals in 15 minutes
Subs Prove to be Game Changers for New York
Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Down three goals with 25 minutes left to play, playoff hopes sliding away, the New York Cosmos dug deep to salvage a draw on Sunday against the Jacksonville Armada in Coney Island.
“It was necessary for us to get three points,” said Cosmos head coach and sporting director Giovanni Savarese after his team scored a barrage of goals to even the score at 3-3.
“In the way the game was, being able to score three goals and tie the game at the end, it ended up being very positive, because it’s much better to have one point and to take two points away from [Jacksonville] than to lose the game,” added the fifth-year Venezuelan gaffer.
The Cardiac Cosmos lived up to their nickname yet again, needing the full 90 minutes plus stoppage time to mount their comeback.
For the second match in a row, New York came from behind late in the game to claim a point against a tough opponent. In the team’s previous fixture, the Cosmos scored two late goals to tie Miami FC 3-3 in South Florida.
Despite extending their winless streak to seven games, the Cosmos remained in the hunt for the playoffs.
More importantly, Jacksonville was unable to create some separation between the Cosmos in the table. With the draw, New York remained in fifth place in the Combined Standings, one point behind Jacksonville for the final playoff spot.
New York does, however, have two games in hand on third-place North Carolina FC. The Cosmos can leapfrog North Carolina with a string of solid results.
“We’re not content, but at least we’re thankful we were able to get that point,” said Savarese. “In the way the game was going, it was a competitive match because we made it competitive.”
The Cosmos’ comeback started with a goal from Javi Marquez in the 79th minute.
After substitute Juan Arango flicked a ball into the penalty area, Marquez showed great composure to hit a bouncing ball on the volley to the far post for his fourth goal of the season. Three of his four goals have come against Jacksonville.
The goal from the Spaniard created hope for New York and put the fans on their feet. Arango’s assist was his first since returning to New York.
More drama came from the Cosmos in the 89th minute when Ayoze provided a beautifully driven cross into the penalty area for Eugene Starikov, another substitute, to redirect the ball under the crossbar and into the net. It was his second goal of the season.
The referee issued four minutes of stoppage time, and the Cosmos used every second of it to complete their comeback.
In the 94th minute, Juan Guerra — yet another substitute — scored for the Cosmos with a piece of individual brilliance.
The Venezuelan brought the ball into the left side of the penalty area, took a touch and fired home a curling shot to the far corner, leaving Jacksonville goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell flat-footed.
Javi Marquez earned Man of the Match honors for scoring the first goal that would eventually spark the Cosmos’ rally.
“I’ve always had a lot of confidence,” Marquez said after the match. “I’m an important player for this team. We were really trying to push harder, and we got a necessary point for the playoffs.
“Other than that, in the next game on Wednesday, we hope that our fans will return to our field to help us because it’s a really important match for us. Our only objective right now is to make the playoffs.”
The Cosmos continue their three-game homestand when they face the San Francisco Deltas on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. New York will then host North Carolina FC on Saturday at 7 p.m.
A pair of wins will put New York firmly in the driver’s seat for the postseason.
Follow reporter Scott Enman on Twitter.
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