The New York Cosmos looked to have ended their regular season with a draw against a team that had beaten them twice previously in 2014, but a goal well after the allotted three minutes of stoppage time had expired mad it three straight defeats at the hands of the Scorpions for Gio Savarese's side. Fortunately, they won't have to wait long for a fourth go at San Antonio, as they'll be back there next Saturday when the NASL playoffs kick off.
Savarese went with a mostly reserve lineup, which is unlikely to look anything like the squad we'll see next Saturday. The seven deepest players on the pitch for the finale are all unlikely (at best) to start in the semifinal, while it's quite possible that the four Cosmos in attack were competing for two or three spots in the starting eleven next week. San Antonio, on the other hand, fielded a stronger side than their opponents
The first half was pretty lackluster overall, with both teams looking content to play somewhat conservatively. The two best chances of the half fell to the Cosmos' Diomar Diaz, who missed wide of the mark when set free on goal the first time, and was well-saved by the goalkeeper from the edge of the box with about five minutes remaining before the break.
The second half started in much the same manner as the first, though the Scorpions saw a bit more of the ball after the restart. The officiating remained quite poor though, with both teams fouling heavily, and no cards being produced. The first yellow of the contest didn't come until the 76th minute, when Richard Menjivar was finally booked.
Aside from the uptick in cards in the game's final minutes (the contest ended with five), it was a relatively uneventful second half that looked like it would produce a draw. Unfortunately for the Cosmos, some sloppy play following a very late set piece saw San Antonio find the back of the net, winning 1-0 and taking the meaningless fall championship from Minnesota United.
With the result meaning very little to New York, the only real negative to be taken from Saturday's match was the injry to David Diosa. Diosa had to come off with about ten minutes left to play, though it didn't appear to be anything serious. I'd be surprised if he's unavailable after what appeared to be cramping, but it's something to keep an eye on ahead of next week's contest.
Speaking of next week, let's hope the boys in green look a little more lively in that one. Unlike the regular season finale, that game will mean something.