Cosmos Find a Late Draw in Miami

Miami's Jaime Chavez was a handful for Dejan Jakovic and the rest of the New York Cosmos defense in Wednesday's 3-3 draw. Photograph by NASL

Cosmos logoThe New York Cosmos (1-2-4, 7 Fall; 7-6-10, 31 Combined) avoided a second straight defeat on Wednesday night, tallying a goal in the dying moments of their final regular-season encounter at Miami FC (5-2-1, 16 Fall; 16-4-4, 52 Combined) to earn a 3-3 draw.

New York’s night got off to a promising start as a cross sent in by Jimmy Mulligan zipped over keeper Daniel Vega before being sent back in front of goal by the head of Dejan Jakovic for Bledi Bardic to bury into the empty net.

Eventually, Miami’s juggernaut attack and the red-hot Jaime Chávez broke through New York’s defensive line. With a minute to go before the break, Rhett Bernstein got his head on a free kick from Hunter Freeman to find Chávez breaking away from the pack. Unmarked by a defender, Chávez drove his volley past Kyle Zobeck from the edge of the six-yard-box.

The hosts were able to pull ahead just past the hour mark thanks to an abysmal effort to clear the defensive third by the Cosmos. Stefano Pinho put the Cosmos’ net under pressure with a blast from 19 yards out that Zobeck only managed to kick high into the air. Jackovic’s attempt at heading the ball out of danger was weak and stayed inside the area. Javi Márquez then came in to clear only to scuff his effort and deliver the ball on a platter for Chávez to rip across the line.

Márquez made up for his error as the facilitator of New York’s equalizer in the 81st minute. In attempting to find the goal with a rifled shot near the end line, the Spaniard instead found the foot of substitute Pablo Vranjican, who flicked the ball past the shoulder of Vega for his fourth goal of the year.

New York’s defense could not ride out the final minutes of the match, though, as Chávez again found the back of the net to complete his hat trick. The attacker capped a counter attack by delivering an outstanding right-footed strike into the bottom-left corner before Jakovic could close him down.

As the smoke from the supporters section celebrating Chávez’s third was still wafting onto the field, the Cosmos produced a response. Márquez opened a window of space for himself to fire off a terrific strike past Vega to salvage the night.

Any point earned off the NASL’s frontrunner is a well-earned one. However, the draw leaves the Cosmos winless in their last six as the league’s postseason race is heating up. Before this run of matches, the Modern Era Cosmos had only ever gone winless in four straight.

With Saturday’s match in Puerto Rico being postponed because of Hurricane Irma, the Cosmos will have to wait until Sept. 17 when they host the Jacksonville Armada. Jacksonville dispatched the Cosmos at MCU, 2-0, this past weekend.