Andres Flores scored his second goal of the season for New York. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

CARY, N.C. — So close, yet so far away.

The Cosmos allowed a victory and two points slip through their fingers Saturday, allowing the tying goal in the 90th minute in their 2-2 draw with North Carolina FC at Sahlen’s Stadium at the Wake-Med Soccer Park Saturday night.

Renan Gorne scored off a rebound of a shot past goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer in the North American Soccer League encounter. It was the Cosmos’ ninth tie in 21 games as they saw another two points go down the drain.

The tie kept the Cosmos (7-5-9, 30 points) in third place while fifth-place North Carolina (28) moved to 7-8-7.

“It was an exciting game for the fans to see,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “We did some good things in the second half, but I think the tie is probably the right result for what we saw on the field.”

It turned out to be a lost opportunity for the Cosmos to move up in the standings before a crowd of 4,205.

“We deserved this point, no more than this,” Savarese said. “We travel to get wins, and we should have been better than what we showed today.”

A minute into the second half, Nazmi Albadawi’s shot from inside the box gave the hosts a 1-0 lead off a give-and-go with Andre Fortune.

Steven Miller tried to double the hosts’ lead with a one-touch play in the 55th minute, only to be denied by Maurer.

Midfielder Andres Flores knotted things up for New York. The El Salvadoran international worked a give-and-go with defender Ayoze before racing into the penalty area to score from eight yards for a 1-1 deadlock.

It was Flores’ second goal of the season.

HIGHLIGHTS: The Cosmos are denied an away win by a last minute equalizer from North Carolina FC.2-2 | #NCFCvNYC

Posted by New York Cosmos on 26 ऑगस्ट 2017

Video courtesy of the Cosmos’ Facebook page

Substitute Eugene Starikov finally scored his first goal for the Cosmos past goalkeeper Brian Sylvestre, taking the ball away from defender Connor Tobin before slipping the ball into the right corner to give the visitors a 2-1 advantage in the 71st minute.

However, Gorne had other things on his mind, tapping in a rebound of a saved shot into an empty goal for the first goal of his NASL career in the 90th minute to level things up at 2-2.

“It was a good game between two good teams,” NCFC head coach Colin Clarke said. “We’re disappointed not to get the result we were looking for. I thought we deserved it with the overall balance of play, but I’m pleased with the way we played. I think that’s the best we’ve played for quite a while.”

Veteran midfielder Danny Szetela came off the bench in the final minute of regulation time, joining the team’s Century Club in his 100th regular-season appearance.

Scoring Summary:

Goals:

NCFC: Albadawi (Fortune 46’), Gorne (Unassisted 90+’)
NYC: Flores (Ayoze 59’), Starikov (Unassisted 71’)

Cautions:

NCFC: Nazmi Albadawi 45’, Alex Molano 86’
NYC: Pablo Vranjican 19’, Danny Szetela 90+’, Ryan Richter 90+’

NCFC: Brian Sylvestre; Paul Black, Christian Ibeagha, Connor Tobin, Steven Miller; Lance Laing (Jon Orlando 80’), Dre Fortune (Alex Molano 80’), James Marcelin, Nazmi Albadawi ©, Tiyi Shipalane (Matt Fondy 89’); Renan Gorne

Subs not used: Macklin Robinson, Kareem Moses, Austin da Luz, Marcel Kandziora

NYC: Jimmy Maurer; Ryan Richter, Carlos Mendes ©, Ayoze, Darrius Barnes; Javi Marquez (Danny Szetela 90’), Andres Flores, Juan Guerra, Emmanuel Ledesma (Kobi Moyal 82’), Jimmy Mulligan; Pablo Vranjican (Eugene Starikov 60’)

Subs not used: Dejan Jakovic, Kyle Zobeck, Eric Calvillo, Lucky Mkosana

Attendance: 4,205