Cosmos Lose Lead Late In Draw Vs. Rowdies

New York Cosmos, NASL, soccer

The New York Cosmos and Tampa Bay Rowdies battled to a 2-2 draw Saturday night at Al Lang Stadium, with all goals coming in the second half.

Cosmos midfielder Juan Arango would find the target first. In the 52nd minute, midfielder Danny Szetela drew a foul in a dangerous area, teeing up his teammate with a look at goal from 25 yards. Arango seized the free kick opportunity; his searing strike toward the far post left Rowdies goalkeeper Matt Pickens flat-footed. It was the Venezuelan’s fifth goal of the season, the highest total on the team.

Four minutes later it looked as if Tampa Bay had found the equalizer. Forward Georgi Hristov weaved his way into the left edge of the box and picked out an onrushing Joe Cole. Pressured from behind by Cosmos midfielder Adam Moffat, Cole stumbled in the penalty area and the ball bounced off his arm, trickling past Brian Holt. The English midfielder was flagged for a hand ball, and the Cosmos maintained their 1-0 lead.

Yasmani Duk doubled New York’s advantage in the 67th minute, scoring his second goal against the Rowdies this year. Making his first start since returning from Copa América, the Bolivian striker fired between Pickens’ legs from point-blank range after controlling Lucky Mkosana’s cross from the left edge of the 18-yard box.

Five minutes before second-half stoppage time, the Rowdies cut the Cosmos lead in half. Holt stopped Tamika Mkandawire’s initial close-range effort, but the rebound ricocheted back into the net before Ayoze could clear it off the line.

Deep into second-half stoppage time, Cosmos substitute Jimmy Ockford was deemed to have brought down Tom Heinemann in the box, earning Tampa Bay a late chance to equalize from the spot. Cole would stutter step and blast past Holt, stealing a late point for his side.

It was the first draw of the NASL Season for the Cosmos, who move to 3-1-1 (W-D-L) on the Fall Season and 9-1-5 overall.