The New York Cosmos have played all ten matches of the North American Soccer League spring season, and regardless of how the rest of Saturday's contests end, the boys in green will finish atop the NASL spring table. Following an exciting 3-3 draw against Jacksonville Armada FC, the club sits at 20 points, a total that no other side can reach during the spring. Along with a shiny plate, that spring title means that Gio Savarese's side will be hosting a semifinal match in November.
The Cosmos started a somewhat rotated side, likely with an eye on next Wednesday's US Open Cup match against NYCFC. That didn't stop them from taking the early lead, however, as one of their regular starters, Raul, chipped the keeper to give the home side the early lead against Jacksonville.
Twenty six minutes into the half, Savarese's side doubled the lead. Danny Szetela, who was sensational for most of the match on Saturday, played the ball to Hagop Chirishian, who rounded the keeper and scored. That concluded the scoring for the first half, and with 45 minutes to play, things looked very rosy for the Cosmos.
For most of the spring season, Savarese has opted to keep up the pressure with the lead, as opposed to sitting deeper and closing up shop. The Cosmos seemed to do the opposite on Saturday, seeming willing to absorb Armada pressure, but conceding two goals to give the Tampa Bay Rowdies the smallest bit of hope.
Anyone who has watched the Cosmos this season knows that this side seems to enjoy leaving things late, and on Saturday, it was Lucky Mkosana's turn to step up with a dramatic goal late on. The former Rowdies man put the good guys ahead in the 86th minute, and things seemed to be all done and dusted at Shuart.
Unfortunately, the Armada leveled the match for a second time just three minutes later, and New York was forced to settle for a draw. A draw was good enough, however, and while Gio won't be thrilled after watching his side concede three in the second half, the boys in green are spring season champions.
Up next will be NYCFC, as the Cosmos look to continue their run toward the US Open Cup. After that, there's the fall season to be played, with more silverware and the right to host the NASL final on the line.