Javi Marquez scored again against Jacksonville Armada SC. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Cosmos picked the wrong time to surrender their first road goal of the season.
Midfielder Zach Steinberger scored five minutes into second-half stoppage to time as Jacksonville Armada SC denied the Cosmos their fourth successive away clean sheet Saturday night.
Translated: the Cosmos settled for a 1-1 draw in the North American Soccer League match before a crowd of 3,811 at Hodges Stadium.
Still, the Cosmos weren’t about to give back that precious awa point.
“We obtained a very important point on the road,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “More than anything, we are very proud of the work the team did tonight.”
Steinberger scored off a cross by former Cosmos Jemal Johnson past goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer, who made four saves.
The Cosmos had recorded road shutouts at Puerto Rico FC, Miami FC and the San Francisco Deltas.
Javi Marquez, who tallied against Jacksonville in a 1-1 home draw at MCU Park two weeks ago, lifted the visitors into a 1-0 lead off a free kick past goalkeeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell in the 24th minute.
Jacksonville (2-0-4, 10 points) remained unbeaten but fell to second place behind Miami FC in the eight-team table while the Cosmos (2-1-3, 9) remained fourth place.
Marquez’s goal set off a series of chances for New York. Midfielder Walter Restrepo tried to go 1 v 1 against the Armada defense, but his shot was blocked by center backs Drew Beckie and Mechak Jérôme. Midfielder Danny Szetela, who wore the captain’s armband for the second successive game, tested the Armada keeper from outside the box, forcing Patterson-Sewell into a one-handed save towards the end of the first half.
Jacksonville tired to equalize in the final half as forward Derek Gebhard sent the ball against the side netting. Defender Devon Fisher and forward J.C. Banks put pressure on the Cosmos defense. Maurer was called into action, punching out a long ball. New York narrowly avoided an equalizer when a dangerous free kick by Jérôme sailed above the crossbar.
Substitutions slowly began to pay dividends. Cosmos forward Irvin Herrera, who came on for midfielder Emmanuel Ledesma, sent a good attempt from outside the box towards the bottom left corner, but was denied by Patterson-Sewell. The Armada answered with a ball from Steinberger, that was knocked away by Maurer.
The hosts turned possession into chances, as a late header by Beckie bounced high off the pitch, sending Maurer into a one-handed save. Armada forward Jonathan Glenn missed an excellent chance in front of the net. Defender, Michael O’Sullivan, also saw his header denied by Maurer.