By Cesar Trelles – 11/9/14
Oh how bitter it feels!
A feeling that Cosmos Country has yet to experience in the NASL reboot sunk in on Saturday evening. The New York Cosmos will not be the champions this year.
It is only fitting however that the Cosmos season end to a team that handed them three defeats during the course of the 2014 regular season. You could say that the San Antonio Scorpions are the New York Cosmos kryptonite, at least in 2014. Perhaps having the Cosmos clinch their 2013 soccer bowl berth on their home field last year really stuck in their minds during the offseason last year because the Scorpions dominated the Cosmos in every way possible in 2014. On Saturday night, the Cosmos threw everything they had in their disposal at the Scorpions.
“It was a battle,” said Cosmos goalie Jimmy Maurer after the match. “Back and forth game. Congratulations to San Antonio – they had a great season.”
The Cosmos went up 1-0 on a header by Mads Stokkelien in the 17th minute that Scorpions goalie Josh Saunders had to go into the net to save. However, as they stubbornly have done throughout the fall season, the Cosmos would give the lead right back. This time it only took two minutes to give the lead back as the Scorpions would equalize in the 19th minute thanks to a goal by Rafael Castillo. The remainder of the match saw several opportunities for the Cosmos to take the lead in the match. The cards were falling into place for the Cosmos as well, as during the second half of play, they would learn that the Fort Lauderdale Strikers had defeated the Minnesota United in the other playoff game that was taking place. A Cosmos win would have meant that they would host the Championship match the following week.
But it was not meant to be.
In the 110th minute of injury time, Scorpions striker Walter Restrepo put a shot on goal that Jimmy Maurer would save but would take an unfortunate bounce off of Carlos Mendes to bounce into the net for the 2-1 lead.
Even in the 120th minute, the Cosmos still had one last chance to stay alive as they were awarded a free kick that Marcos Senna would take. Even Senna could not bail the Cosmos out on this night as Scorpions goalie Josh Saunders would save the shot and end the season for the Cosmos.
The off season will be a long and reflective one for Cosmos fans.
“We had the confidence and belief we could be in the final,” said Head Coach Giovanni Savarese after the match. “But we have to start looking to the next season and keep working. I’m very proud of the guys and their effort.”
For head coach Giovanni Savarese, he will have to take a look at this team and answer some questions that were surely at the root of the problem for the Cosmos.
-Why can’t his team finish off goals up front?
-Does the air tight defense that won them the 2013 championship need an overhaul?
-When do the Cosmos stop depending on Marcos Senna to bail them out and who will step forward and be the go to striker up front?
-Does the team require more depth?
These are just some of my questions after a short time of reflection since the final whistle blew in San Antonio.
What do you think the Cosmos need to do to give them that edge in a North American Soccer League that seems to be improving in talent as each season passes?
Congratulations to the San Antonio Scorpions on owning us in 2014. They will host the Fort Lauderdale Strikers next Saturday 11/15/14 at 7:30pm.