JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Giovanni Savarese had never seen anything like that.
To the Cosmos head coach, the referee’s call at the end of his team’s wild 4-4 draw with Jacksonville Armada FC “was insane.”
This is what had transpired:
Jacksonville’s Charles Eloundou blasted a high shot past goalkeeper Maurer to even the score at 4-4 in the 79th minute.
Needing a win to improve their postseason chances, Jacksonville pressed for a fifth goal late in the match.
With a free kick in stoppage time, Jack Blake hit the wall of Cosmos defenders. Seconds later, Armada captain Aaron Pitchkolan’s blast from outside the box was stopped by a diving Maurer.
On the ensuing corner, Jacksonville brought up its keeper up for the attack to look for the winner. The Cosmos, however, emerged with the ball.
With a three on one rush against an empty net, the referee blew the final whistle, bringing an end to the match before the Cosmos could score a potential playoff-clinching goal, leaving New York players and coaching staff frustrated at the end.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Savarese said. “A breakaway to score a goal and the referee actually took the goal away. It’s a goal that could have defined an entire season. I can’t believe that he called it away. It was insane.”
Had the Cosmos scored and recorded a win, it would have clinched a playoff spot. Now, the team must win its final game against Puerto Rico FC at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. Saturday.