Although they did not get the three points to show it, The Cosmos played some of their best soccer of the season against the Jacksonville Armada. The Cosmos’ offense led by Walter Restrepo and Eugene Starikov, found new life in this match. In one of the strongest chances in the first half, a Starikov rocket forced the Armada keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell to make a thunderous save. A few minutes later, Restrepo played in a smart pass to Javi Marquez who beat Caleb Patterson-Sewell at his near post. Marquez’s goal was the first the pole position Armada have let up all season. If you weren’t familiar with the NASL standings, you probably would have the Cosmos were the title leaders. Their first half was the best 45 minutes they’ve put together up to this point.
However, the Cosmos slipped a little in the second half. The allowed the Armada to get back into the game. Jacksonville was steadily creating chances until a moment of brilliance from J.C. Banks equalized. The Cosmos tried their best to get back into the game, but their crossing was a bit spotty and they were not able to find some Cardiac Cosmos brilliance.
Going twenty one days between home matches, attendance was a big talking point for today’s match. As we mentioned on Twice A Cosmo earlier in the week, the Cosmos have done a lot to promote last night’s match. Unfortunately attendance dropped from 6,200 to 3,600. To be fair, the weather in New York did not do the team much favors and they are already doing significantly better than they did at Shuart. At tonight’s game we also had the great moment of owner Rocco Commisso celebrating with the Five Points at halftime, something we would have never seen in season’s past.
Although the result leaves more to be desired I’m incredibly impressed with the improvement this squad has been making week in week out. Especially in the final third, the Cosmos are becoming sharper and sharper. Although they currently sit in 5th place in the NASL standings they are only three points behind the Armada. Anything can happen this NASL season, and if the Cosmos can peak at the right time, they can sneakily win the Spring Season.
Next Saturday the Cosmos hit the west coast for their first ever match against the San Francisco Deltas.