The Cosmos continued their road woes dropping a 2-1 decision at Lockhart Stadium to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers and concluding a road campaign that went 1-0-4, in stark contrast to their perfect 5-0-0 record at home.
And with their bye coming up next week in the final round of league play this spring, the club might just have to sit back and wait for some hardware.
Most of the formation looked the same. Jimmy Maurer in the net. Ayoze, Carlos Mendes, Jimmy Ockford, and Hunter Freeman on the back line. Danny Szetela as a holding mid, Juan Arango, Yohandry Orozco, and Sebastian Guenzatti on the attack and Jairo Arrieta up top. The only change came with Andres Flores in the midfield and Ruben Bover on the bench.
Bover was one of six subtitutions available alongside David Ochieng, David Diosa, Lucky Mkosana, and Brian Holt. The last substitution, making his first 2016 league appearance in a Cosmos 18 – er, 17 – was Roversio.
The Strikers went up in the 35th minute. Dalton headed a ball to Jose Angulo, who Szetela lost track of, and headed a ball past Maurer to break the deadlock.
The Strikers would find their next goal in the 74th minute. Luis Felipe Fernandes sent a short pass to Geison Moura just outside the box which Moura turned and shot between Freeman’s legs into the left side of the net and past a diving Maurer.
The Cosmos pulled a goal back in the second minute of stoppage. Diosa was upended just outside the the box for a free kick. Juan Arango’s shot slipped past a moving Diego Restrepo who was screened effectively by Arrieta.
A shot from Ruben Bover moments later nearly gave them the chance to tie it up, but went over the bar.
“We had the game in our hands to be able to be the spring champions,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese. “Even though we created chances, we didn’t look convincing. We didn’t connect the passes going forward that we wanted to.”
Regardless, the team is in pole position for their second consecutive spring title.
Aside from their loss to the Strikers and a Rowdies win over Ottawa, all NASL results came up Cosmos with draws for Indy and Carolina and a loss for Minnesota. As a result, all but four teams are eliminated from contention for the Spring title: the Cosmos, Indy, the Rowdies and the Strikers. All three teams can pull even with the Cosmos on points, but goal differentials could become the decider next week.