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Cosmos fail to finish their chances, lose again in Tampa

Mike Zarrilli

If you could sum up the entire Cosmos' fall season in just a single word, it would have to be 'disappointment'. That theme continued on Saturday night in Tampa, where they got behind early en route to a 3-1 loss.

The game started brightly enough, with the Cosmos looking the better side for most of the opening minutes. Tampa, meanwhile, looked to play balls over the top of the New York midfield, and as the first half wore on, it began to look like simply a matter of time before the Rowdies would open the scoring.

That opener came in the 23rd minute, when a fortunate deflection fell to the feet of Keith Savage, before being fired of of Hunter Freeman and into the back of the net. It was a bit of an unfortunate break for the Cosmos, as the shot itself looked like it was going to be an easy stop for Jimmy Maurer before getting tangled in the legs of the fullback.

After falling behind, New York looked a bit more dangerous and created sevenral excellent chances of their own. Both Jemal Johnson and Mads Stokkelien failed to put the ball on target with relatively straightforward chances to level the game, and it went to the half at 1-0. Stokkelien again failed to convert early in the second half when he blasted into the side netting, continuing the trend we've seen far too much of during the fall season thus far.

Just short of the hour mark, the Rowdies made the boys from New York pay. Tamika Mkandawire was in the right place to collect a Jimmy Maurer diving punch, and calmly slotted the rebound home from about 10 yards out before the defense had time to react. Just like that, the Rowdies had a pretty comfortable lead with about 30 minutes left to play.

The Cosmos got one back with just under ten minutes remaining, as Stefan Dimitrov got in behind the Tampa defense. That would be the lone goal for New York though, and Blake Wagner managed to find a third for the Rowdies late into stoppage time.

The Cosmos now sit 7th in the fall table, on only eight points. More importantly, they've seen the gap between themselves and the 4th and 5th place sides in the combined table shrink to just five points, and with the way the club has been playing since the break, that's not much of a cushion at all.