Mkosana Returning to Cosmos

IMAGE, HOWARD SIMMONS/NY DAILY NEWS

By JAKE NUTTING

Cosmos logoThe New York Cosmos’ fan-favorite Lucky Mkosana is returning to help the defending North American Soccer League champions in the back of half their season.

Mkosana, 29, was one of many Cosmos player to depart in the off-season when the prospect of the team taking the field again looked bleak. The forward signed with IFK Mariehamn in Finland’s top division, where he notched two goals in league play and another two in the Suomen Cup. Mariehamn is currently third in the standings with just four matches left in its season.

“We would like to welcome Lucky back to New York,” Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He is an experienced NASL player that has scored important goals for the Cosmos in the past and we feel confident he will be a great addition to our team.”

A native of Zimbabwe, Mkosana was a standout in the Ivy League with Dartmouth and cracked the professional ranks with the Harrisburg City Islanders in the United Soccer League before eventually landing in the NASL with the Tampa Bay Rowdies and then the Cosmos.

Mkosana won a regular starting spot with the Cosmos in his first season, in 2015 and earned a special place in the hearts of the team’s supporters when he recorded the last-minute equalizer in a dramatic Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup penalty-kick victory over New York City FC. He left the Cosmos at the end of 2016 having bagged 11 goals and aided the team in capturing back-to-back league titles.

The Cosmos have had limited production from its group of forwards so far this year. Before the Salvadorean Irvin Herrera‘s two goals and the recent signing Pablo Vranjicán‘s tally in his debut last week, the Cosmos had yet to see one of their forwards find the back of the net. The Italian forward Amauri disappeared from the picture after the first few weeks of the season and is not expected to return to the Cosmos.

New York returns to the field this week with a crucial matchup against the Spring Season frontrunner, Miami FC. Miami has a seven-point lead on the rest of the field in the spring title race, though the Cosmos were the last team to defeat Miami when they faced off at Riccardo Silva Stadium in South Florida in early April.