“Cardiac” Cosmos Look to Test Recent Turn in Fortune

IMAGE, NYCOSMOS.COM

by ERIC GIACOMETTI
Staff Writer

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. – As the New York Cosmos made their return to the NASL in the Fall of 2013, they did so with a bang. Facing off against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers at home, then forward Alessandro Noselli bagged the game winner deep into stoppage time, setting the tone for a season-long theme. It was a trend that would come to define the “Cardiac Cosmos” as a bevy of fixtures would be decided right at the death, with New York seemingly always finding a way to come out with a result.

Following their last minute comeback against the Carolina Railhawks on Saturday night, it seems the fortuitous breaks that so often eluded New York in 2014 have returned.

“I think last year, it’s not that we gave up, but it was just different,” midfielder Danny Szetela told Empire of Soccer. “We didn’t have that much luck on our side. This year we have luck back on our side. If you look at the two goals, the second one fell perfectly for Andres [Flores] on the 18 and it was a great finish. The first one, we cross the ball in and the goalie knocked it off his own guy and it went in.

“At the end of the day, those are the little things that matter.”

As perhaps the most talented squad in the league, there is a confidence—a swagger—that few teams possess. That confidence, which sometimes borders on cockiness, comes not only from their rampant form to start the season, but also from the crest on the front of their jersey.

“It runs in our bloods,” midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti said. “The Cosmos fight until the end and we showed it last game.”

And while come-from-behind results always produce an entertaining, down-to-the-wire affair, it’s not necessarily a welcome sight for New York. For as much grit as the Cosmos showed on Saturday night, they would admittedly prefer to put the result out of question much earlier in the match.

“We were down two goals and in five minutes we tied it up,” Guenzatti added. “It shows a lot of fighting spirit. But we do have to work before those five minutes and try to get a better result so we can be more comfortable at the end.”

The Cosmos will look to test their good fortune against a side with which they had very little in 2014. Meeting four times, the Scorpions managed to come out on top each time, with the final crushing blow coming in the playoffs as San Antonio ended New York’s season.

Each side boasts different lineups from the year prior, but one of the biggest offseason moves may just tip the scales in New York’s favor.

“They beat us last year, but [Walter] Restrepo is with us this year and he scored against us,” Guenzatti said. “It’s a 50-50 game, anything can happen.”

Aiming to extend their unbeaten run to eight games, the Cosmos will need to accomplish a feat that alluded them all of last season and best a Scorpions side that quite simply had their number.

“You hope it doesn’t come back too often because obviously you want to jump on teams,” captain Carlos Mendes said of his side’s propensity to fight back late in games. “Overall, this season we’ve done a good job of getting on teams and scoring the first goal. It builds the team so that’s a good thing, but hopefully this week we’ll have a better start to the game.

“They always play well against us and we need to be ready.”