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Cosmos Solidify First Place After Thrilling Comeback Win

The New York Cosmos scored a dramatic 4-3 come from behind win over the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Shuart Stadium to solidify their hold at the top of the NASL standings. New York overcame a 3-1 halftime deficit to earn the win.

Marcos Senna celebrates the game-winner for the Cosmos' By: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Marcos Senna celebrates the game-winner for the Cosmos’ By: Stacy Podelski/1495 Sports

Marco Senna scored the game-winner in the 82nd minute on a penalty kick from 23 yards out that went over the wall of Tampa Bay defenders and found just enough room to slide inside the right post.

“Scoring a goal in this kind of situation, I’m very glad that the team won and, of course, that I scored,” Senna said. “Actually, I am very glad it was a very important goal, more than it was beautiful.”

In the first half, the Cosmos were outplayed as an aggressive and well organized Tampa Bay attack clicked several times. Goals by Luke Mulholland (20th minute), Georgi Hristov (34th minute) and Lucky Mkosana (45th minute) gave the visitors a 3-1 lead. On two of the goals, Cosmos goalie Kyle Reynish appeared tentative when chasing loose balls. Miscommunication between the goalie and his defenders were also an issue on those two plays.

“In the first half, we made some mistakes in the back and they were able to capitalize on it,” Cosmos’ coach Giovanni Savarese explained. “That put us in trouble…Our communication needed to be better.”

Peri Marosevic scored the lone New York goal in the first half in the 23rd minute. It was set up by a free kick by Marcos Senna which was headed twice before Stefan Dimitrov got off a shot. Tampa Bay netminder Diego Restrepo made the save but Marosevic put home the rebound to tie the game at 1-1 at the time.The tone of the game changed at the start of the second half.

New York was much more confident with the ball and managed to sustain an attack. When asked what he said in the locker room at halftime, Savarese explained. “We just gave them [the players] the trust that they deserved. We were very calm as a coaching staff. We said ‘let’s go out there and do the job and get the win’ and we were able to do it. We have a great group of guys.”

The Cosmos’ pulled to within a goal in the 63rd minute on a good, low shot by Paulo Mendes that went just inside the far post. Then, Diomar Diaz tied the game in the 80th minute on a run down the left side which he finished well. The 23-year-old Venezuelan was so excited he removed his shirt in celebration. That earned him a yellow card, but after scoring the tying goal, the Cosmos would gladly take the tradeoff.

That set the stage for Senna’s dramatic game winner. Throughout the second half, you could feel the momentum had shifted to the Cosmos. They had possession of the ball for nearly 70 percent of the time and controlled the tempo of play.

“We would attack, they’d clear the ball, we would win it and we’d go right back at them,” said defender Hunter Freeman. “They just never could breathe and it was just a matter of, you could feel the goal coming.”

The win gives New York a four-point lead over Tampa Bay in the race for first place in the NASL’s fall standings with five game remaining.While the team emphasized taking things one game at a time, this dramatic comeback obviously gave them confidence.

Shep Messing. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

Shep Messing. Photo by: Stacy Podelski/1495Sports

“Going ahead, it’s huge because we really haven’t had a win like this where we’ve come from behind,” Freeman said.  “There’s a lot of positive things, still some things we need to work on but at the end of the day obviously we feel good about ourselves.”

The Cosmos return to action return to action October 5th when they hit the road to take on Minnesota United FC.


The team honored all-time great Shep Messing before the game and gave away toy mustaches to the fans in his honor. Messing was thrilled with the comeback win and added that a high-scoring game reminded him of the matches the Cosmos had with Tampa Bay in the ’70s.  Attendance was 6,518.

Fans are encouraged to check out the 1495 Sports post match videos by clicking on the link below:


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