Fans have witnessed a painful amount of draws and losses in the Fall Season, but the Cardiac Cosmos have managed to return to the 2017 NASL Playoffs.
A hat trick from Emmanuel Ledesma with goals by Lucky Mkosana and Cosmos’ legend Carlos Mendes were enough to seal the deal against Puerto Rico FC by a scoreline of 5-2.
STARTING XI— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 28, 2017
THE NEW YORK COSMOS.
To start off an amazing night at MCU Park, Ledesma won the ball back on the edge of the Puerto Rico box and eventually worked a cross towards Eugene Starikov. The volley from Starikov would get tipped out by PRFC goalie Austin Pack.
Not much happened in the first half. There was a multitude of transitional play involving some crosses, bicycle kicks, and incredible tackling from the Captain Mendes.
The second half didn’t start the way the Cosmos wanted it to. PRFC won the ball back and eventually sent the ball towards Emery Welshman who sent in his 5th goal of the season.
Just two minutes after the first goal, New York found a response by none other than Ledesma. Starikov won some space on the left side and sent a ball that was settled down by Andres Flores. Flores squared the ball for Ledesma on the top of the box and the rest is history.
52' LEDESMA YOU BEAUTY. Manu rifles a shot into the roof of the net after Calvillo and Flores combine perfectly.— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 29, 2017
1-1 | #NYCvPRFC pic.twitter.com/MXncgobiuu
Four minutes after that, Jimmy Mulligan chipped the ball towards Ledesma who fought off Jake Stovall in the box and planted the ball in the bottom corner. 2-1 to the Originals.
56' Ledesma has stolen the show. Mulligan chips it through, Ledesma holds off Stovall and finishes calmly.— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 29, 2017
2-1 | #NYCvPRFC pic.twitter.com/VROVJos3C7
In the 68th minute, a ball was floated towards the Cosmos’ attack. Ledesma eventually possessed the ball and yet again fought off the rookie Stovall and chipped it over Pack for the two goal lead. Indescribable, brilliant, phenomenal from Ledesma.
Imagine not having Manu Ledesma as your NASL MVP— Twice a Cosmo (@TwiceACosmo) October 29, 2017
On a memorable final regular season appearance for Mendes, he was able to deflect a cross home for the fourth Cosmos goal. An amazing goal to make a great night even better.
75' A dream goal on his last regular season appearance. Ladies and Gentlemen - Carlos Mendes.— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 29, 2017
4-1 | #NYCvPRFC pic.twitter.com/yVF9BstXLu
The Cosmos would get a bit sloppy after they gained such an advantage over Puerto Rico. This led to Welshman getting his second goal on the night. Jimmy Maurer had to make some superb saves to deny any chance of Puerto Rico coming back. I don’t want to be that post.
86' Jimmy Maurer makes a great save to deny Puerto Rico late on.— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 29, 2017
4-2 | #NYCvPRFC pic.twitter.com/8BwfKSC8hA
Lucky would eventually send the Cosmos to the playoffs after some great interplay led to the 30-year-old into the box. He put the ball into the top corner with precision to seal the deal.
Final: Cosmos 5-2 Puerto Rico FC
I’m beyond happy that New York has made the playoffs. Within a certain point in the season, you’d have to think that they have no chance of getting in. Once again, the Cardiac Cosmos prove us wrong.
Emmanuel Ledesma has to be the NASL Golden Ball winner after this performance. He was absolutely clutch in this fixture, and saved the Cosmos when they needed it most. He represented the exact definition of being an MVP today, and I’d imagine that these performances continue from number 18.
If the playoffs were to start right now, the Cosmos would be squaring off against the San Francisco Deltas. According to the Cosmos Twitter, it’s looking like that contest will happen on the 5th of November. Be on the lookout for the exact time that it starts.
.@naslofficial Playoffs - Here We Come! #MarchToNovember pic.twitter.com/CkeH3ksXfr— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 29, 2017
How does the team build off of this performance? Are you excited for the playoffs to start? Let us know in the comments below!