Bledi Bardic scored his first goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The New York Cosmos played to another 1-1 draw and gave up the equalizer late in the match.
No, we are not repeating last week’s result.
For the third time in as many weeks, the Cosmos continued their late-game woes, this time against Michigan Stars FC in their National Independent Soccer Association fall season opener.
Clinging to a one-goal lead in stoppage time, the Cosmos conceded in the 92nd minute as Zach Reynolds tallied for the visitors in the Eastern Division contest.
For the record, the Cosmos allowed New Amsterdam FC to knot things up at 1-1 in the first minute of added time in the NISA Independent Cup on Aug. 2.
Last Sunday, they duplicated the final score as Maryland Bobcats FC scored in the 75th minute.
And now this, in a game that means so much more in a four-game regular season that has been cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The win left Michigan atop the division with a 1-0-1 mark and four points while the Cosmos are 0-0-1 and one point.
Looking to walk out of Mitchel with three points, the Cosmos failed to clear a corner kick down field. The ball came to Reynolds, who fired a 22-yard shot through several players and past a diving goalkeeper Jesse Corke into the lower right corner.
Forward Bledi Bardic had given the hosts the lead in the 72nd minute, taking advantage of a mistake in the penalty area. Cosmos captain Danny Szetela sent a ball in that goalkeeper Tatenda Mkuruva came out to catch as he collided with defender Andres Chalbaud. Bardic took possession of the loose ball and slotted it into an empty net from 10 yards.
Persistence personified 💪
Well done, @BljediBardic #WeAreCosmopolitan pic.twitter.com/n53sQzVpt7
— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) August 16, 2020
The Cosmos also were done in by their inability to finish their opportunities, especially in the first half. For the most part, they controlled play and had more chances, quality and quantity.
In the fourth minute, Shavon John-Brown, running onto a fine feed from Ansi Agolli, fired his shot over the crossbar.
Bardic had the next two chances. He headed a shot to Mkuruva in the sixth minute. Only six minutes later, he backheeled a left-wing pass from Darwin Espinal into the net but was called for being offside.
Bardic became a playmaker in the 22nd minute, sending a Espinal a pass that the midfielder forced Mkuruva to knock out of bounds for a corner kick. On the ensuing set piece a minute later, an unmarked Matt Lewis sent a header wide left.
Michigan took its lone opportunity in the half in the 27th minute when Steven Juncaj attempted a shot that Corke easily gathered in.
Only 75 seconds into the second half, the Cosmos made Mkuruva work some more as he saved right back Pedro Galvao’s free kick.
The hosts played without a pair of scoring threats. Isaac Acuna, who scored in the 1-1 draw against Maryland Bobcats FC last week, suffered a hamstring injury in training on Friday. Aly Hassan was in Weston, Fla. for the funeral of his father, who passed away earlier in the week.
The Cosmos plays next against expansion side New Amsterdam FC at the Hudson Sports Complex in Warwick, N.Y. on Friday, Aug. 14 at 6 p.m.
Given that they are in the middle of an abbreviated season, another 1-1 draw, or anything but a win could be the kiss of death for any title aspirations the team might have.