Call them the Comeback Kids. Call them the Blast from the Past. But whatever you call them, they are still Giovanni Savarese’s New York Cosmos.
On Sunday evening at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., the Cosmos rallied from a 3-1 halftime deficit to defeat Ricky Hill’s Tampa Bay Rowdies, 4-3. The victory gives New York a record of 5-3-1 (18 points) and puts them closer towards securing a berth in the Soccer Bowl.
Luke Mulholland opened up the scoring for the Rowdies 20 minuted into the contest before Peri Marosevic equalized the match in the 23rd minute of play for New York. Georgi Hristov made it 2-1 Rowdies in the 34th minute and Lucky Mkosana, who plays for the Harrisburg City Islanders, made it 3-1 in the first minute of first half injury time.
However, in the second half, the match quickly turned on its head. Paulo Mendes made in 3-2 Tampa Bay in the 63rd minute of play. 17 minutes later, Diomar Diaz put the match on level terms one again in the 80th minute before trigger man Marcos Senna delivered the match winner on an expertly-hit set piece in the 82nd minute of play.
“The Cosmos have shown that they are a tough team to beat,” Tampa Bay midfielder Stuart Campbell told Jack Bell of the New York Times on Friday. “They are very strong at home, but then again we are the best team on the road and it’s up to us to take over the top of the table. It’s such an honor to play for a club that has such a rich history and tradition, and playing against the Cosmos is special for every member on this team.”
“This club gives extra motivation for other teams because of the history,” Savarese added. “I think Tampa’s coach, in quotes this week anticipating the game, mentioned exactly what it feels like to play against the Cosmos — the name.
“It’s always exciting for teams to be able to revive an old rivalry and to beat the Cosmos is extra motivation.”
The importance of Senna to the Cosmos cannot be underestimated, according to Savarese.
“First, off the field, he is extraordinary,” Savarese said of Senna. “He is very humble, very calm, prepared for any inconvenience to make it positive. He has been tremendous to younger players. Somebody who is always ready to work.
“On the field we know the professional we got, a player who has a lot of quality, somebody who technical-wise is great. He is able to do things that come very easy to him, he makes the difficult look simple. He makes the team better around him and also looks like a young boy in the way he is running. He has been everything we thought and more.”
Senna and the Cosmos will look to gain more separation on the competition when they face the Loons of Minnesota United on Oct. 5 at the National Sports Center in Blaine, Minn. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.