Saturday night looked like it would be one of those frustrating nights when no breaks wound up going the way of the New York Cosmos, as they reached the 90th minute trailing by a pair of goals. A 91st minute own goal gave the boys in
green blue some life though, and when Andres Flores scored with virtually the last kick of the match, it was hard to feel anything but excited about heading home with a draw.
Cosmos' coach Gio Savarese chose an unchanged lineup this week, continuing to go with Hunter Gorskie on the right side and Lucky Mkosana leading the attack. As has been the case several times during the 2015 season, that lineup looked a little shaky throughout the opening minutes of the match. Unlike most matches this season, however, Carolina actually made that early play count on the scoreboard, when Neil Hlavaty got on the end of a Tiyi Shipalane cross and left Jimmy Maurer with no chance.
Ten minutes into the match, things got worse for the Cosmos. Marcus Senna tweaked a hamstring, and was forced to come off with 80 minutes left to play. Luckily for the Cosmos, Adam Moffat is a natural replacement for the 38-year old midfielder, and no major tactical adjustments were needed because of the switch.
The rest of the first half didn't see either team create too many good chances, and with the way the Cosmos have played late in games thus far, going into the break down just one goal didn't seem all that bad. Unfortunately, they didn't find the back of the net early in the second half, and Shipalane doubled the lead 75 minutes into the match. New York appeared to be heading to their first loss of the season, in a place they've struggled in the past.
The turning point of the title winning 2013 campaign came against Tampa Bay, when Savarese's side managed to overcome a 3-1 second half deficit. They'd go on to win 4-3 that evening, before running away with the fall title en route to their sixth NASL title. On Saturday, the 2015 squad may have come up with the same sort of season-defining result in Carolina.
The comeback started shortly after the RailHawks second, with New York beginning to create chance after chance. A goal seemed inevitable, and while Colin Clarke's side were doing everything they could to keep New York from scoring, there was little to be done in the 91st minute when a goal mouth scramble resulted in the ball finding the net. New York continued to press, and when substitute Andres Flores buried a volley from the edge of the box in the 97th minute, WakeMed Soccer Park went silent.
While a victory would have been ideal, and could have all but wrapped up the spring title for New York, Taking a point away from this one feels awfully good. Up next are the defending champs at Hofstra.