The Cosmos struck three times in the final 11 minutes to pull off a memorable comeback. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
BROOKLYN – The Cosmos staged a miracle rally in the final minutes to overcome a 3-0 deficit to register a 3-3 draw with Jacksonville Armada FC at MCU Park Sunday night.
Still, New York continued to leave valuable points on the table as they strive to reach the North American Soccer League playoffs.
The Cosmos scored three times in final 11 minutes of the match and stoppage time.
“It was necessary for us to get three points,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “In the way the game was, being able to score three goals and tie the game at the end, it ended up being very positive, because it’s much better to have one point and to take two points away from [Jacksonville] than to lose the game.”
Javi Marquez (79th minute), Eugene Starikov (89th minute) and Juan Guerra (four minutes into stoppage time) connected for the hosts.
The draw left the Cosmos in seventh place in the fall season standings with a 1-2-5 mark and eight points. In the overall standings, the Cosmos are in fifth place with a 7-6-11 mark and 24 points.
Moreover, they are 3-3-6 at home this season, earning only 15 points out of possible 36, which could spell doom for their playoff hopes if they can’t turn it around during the stretch run.
Jacksonville used a corner kick to their advantage, with Kalen Ryden setting up Ciarán Kilduff’s 13th-minute header past goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck for a 1-0 lead.
Kilduff got his brace in the 41st minute, breaking from his markers for a solo run that culminated in an easy tap-in.
The addition of Starikov livened things up for New York in the second half. Andrés Flores also created danger, blasting a right-footed shot in the 54th minute to force a one-handed save from keeper Caleb Patterson-Sewell.
A 65th minute penalty brought Jack Blake Jacksonville’s third goal, adding to the visitors’ tally against the run of play.
The Cosmos pulled back a goal through Márquez, who tallied his fourth of the year in the 79th minute following a chip from the substitute Juan Arango. The Venezuelan’s assist was his first since returning to the team.
Ayoze set up the second goal, controling the ball deep in the left wing, delivering a cross to Starikov, who headed in his second goal this season.
Guerra tied the score in the dying seconds of the match, running into the box from the left to send a right-footed laser into the back of the net.
“We’re not content, but at least we’re thankful we were able to get that point,” Savarese said. “In the way the game was going, it was a competitive match, because we made it competitive.”
The Cosmos continue their three-game home stand when they face the San Francisco Deltas Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. New York will play North Carolina FC Saturday, September 23 at 7 p.m.