For the first time in nearly four decades, the Cosmos returned to New York City Saturday night to play a North American Soccer League game.
They did not disappoint the chilly, but enthusiastic crowd of 5,279 at MCU Park in Coney Island, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball team.
Lucky Mkosana scored the lone goal as the Cosmos remained unbeaten with a 1-0 victory over the Ottawa Fury in their first city encounter since Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia graced the Yankee Stadium field in 1976.
The win kept the Cosmos (3-0-2, 11 points), who call Hofstra University in Hempstead home, atop the league as the 10-game spring season reached its midway point. Ottawa fell to 1-3-1.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer demonstrated why he was the NASL player of the month by making four saves en route to his fourth shutout. Maurer's most important stop came in the 78th minute, when he denied the onrushing Tom Heinemann on the left side.
With the Empire State Development Corp. yet to decide whether it will award the Cosmos the right to use state property at Belmont Park in Elmont to build a proposed $400-million, 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium, the Cosmos have decided to check out other possible stadium sites. Their list of potential venues include Queens, Long Island, Westchester and northern New Jersey.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams said earlier this week: "We want them here."
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said he "wouldn't be opposed'' to playing at MCU again sometime and said he liked the natural turf field.
On a team that includes two ex-Spanish internationals -- striker Raul and central midfielder Marcos Senna -- Mkosana was the man of the match. The Zimbabwe native played a spirited game and his hard work paid off in the 14th minute. Leo Fernandes, a North Babylon resident and former All-American at Stony Brook, continued his stellar play by setting up Mkosana, who fired a 10-yard shot from the left side into the lower right corner past goalkeeper Romuald Peiser.
"It was a great ball from Leo," Mkosana said. "All the credit from him. He saw me make a run and he just put a really good ball."
Savarese Mkosana "also had a good game against Atlanta [last week]. Tonight, he found a lot of spaces. He was strong, he was clinical in the finish."
In baseball terms, Mkosnaa scored his first Cosmos goal from the third base area as the makeshift field ran from the left side of the park to right and right-centerfield on the artificial turf field.