Cosmos B celebrates with the North Atlantic Conference trophy. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK — Overcoming a one-goal deficit and despite playing a man down for 43 minutes, 10-man Cosmos B pulled out a victory in the North Atlantic Conference playoff final Saturday night.
Goalkeeper Kevin Tenjo made a save in the shootout and right back Jonathan Borrajo converted the game-winner to boost Cosmos B to a 5-4 shootout victory over the Brooklyn Italians in the National Premier Soccer League playoffs at Commisso Stadium.
Cosmos B will host FC Frederick, the Mid-Atlantic Conference playoff champion, in a Northeast Region semifinal at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.
Alexis Velela, John Neeskens, Zaire Bartley and Darwin Espinal also put away their chances for New York.
The Italians scored on their first three attempts behind Simon Olafsen, Matt Cella and Clement Bouffet. Thomas Suchecki took Brooklyn’s fourth attempt and tried for the lower right corner, but Tenjo guessed correctly and knocked the ball away.
That left it up to Borrajo, who slotted his attempt to the lower left corner for the game-winner.
James Thristino lifted the Italians into the lead in the 67th minute. He latched onto a long pass from the midfield. Tenjo came out of the net and the Adelphi University standout tucked the pass under the keeper from 22 yards for a 1-0 advantage.
It didn’t take long for the hosts to equalize at second-half sub Zaire Bartley fired home a rebound from point-blank range past keeper Michael Bernardi for a 1-1 deadlock in the 75th minute.
But Cosmos B’s happiness didn’t last that long. During a tussle at midfield in the 77th minute, midfielder Rafa Garcia, already carrying a yellow card, was awarded a straight red card. Brooklyn’s Simen Olafsen was given a yellow.
Tenjo made two vital saves during regulation and extratime.
In second-half stoppage time, he denying an onrushing Shavon John Brown. He knocked his shot away before pouncing on the loose ball in the penalty area.
In the 104th minute, Tenjo made a one-handed save on Giuseppe Barone, the son of Cosmos vice president Joe Barone.