It wasn't the result Cosmos fans would have hoped for, but the boys in green managed to salvage a point on the road against a very tough opponent on Saturday. The draw, coupled with the 2-2 final between Indy Eleven and Tampa Bay, virtually ensures that the Cosmos will win the NASL spring season title, and host a semifinal match in November.
Thing got off on the wrong foot early, as the Loons took the lead within the first ten minutes of the match. Pablo Campos got on the end of a beautifully taken free kick, and even though replays clearly indicate that he used his arm to put the ball past Cosmos' keeper Jimmy Maurer, the goal stood, and New York had their work cut out for them.
The visitors slowly built into the match, though in fairness, that was at least partly due to the home side's willingness to sit back and absorb pressure with a 1-0 lead. It took until the 90th minute for Gio Savarese's side to get the goal they'd been seeking, and it impressed the Cosmos' manager:
"Raúl is a very clever player. He found space very well going against the back four and pushing forward. Flores delivered an excellent ball – a perfect ball I would say – to his chest. Most players wouldn’t be able to bring it down the way he did. It showed the quality of a great player. He was able to finish, and this was a very important point for us."
Up next for New York is the match in Havana, followed by a much needed weekend off. The point ensures that the worst possible finish for the club is a tie atop the NASL spring table, and at present, they have a commanding lead in every tiebreaking scenario.