The Cosmos had more opportunities than the first two times, and certainly more time, but perhaps a third last-minute victory was just a bit too much to ask.
After having won their first two home games in stoppage time, the Cosmos were unable to solve the Atlanta Silverbacks' brilliant goalie, squandering the 6 extra minutes as they played to a 1-1 draw at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium. The Silverbacks (1-1-4) are the spring season champs.
"[Joe Nasco] is a really good goalkeeper, probably the best one we've faced so far," said midfielder Marcos Senna. "He's very courageous. He comes out a lot and he kept them in the game. Where other goalkeepers fell short, he stepped up."
Nasco made eight saves despite the Cosmos getting 17 shots, including a series in the 76th minute when Satoru Kashiwase's point-blank tip-in was stopped in front of the net. Seconds later, Hunter Gorskie's shot on goal rebounded to Kashiwase, whose clear look once again was gobbled up. The Cosmos played most of stoppage time with an extra man thanks to a second yellow to Pedro Mendes, but couldn't manage a clean shot on Nasco.
The Cosmos' only goal came on Senna's penalty kick in the 44th minute. The 37-year old Spaniard stutter-stepped, charg- ed and delivered the soft touch to the right of Nasco, who guessed correctly but dove early. Senna, named NASL player of the week, lined up after Mendes' penalty in the box.
"We dominated the game from beginning to end and it's a shame we couldn't finish them off when we had them," Senna said. "We had one shot that went in and that kind of tells the story . . . Obviously we're a little disappointed with the results given how we played."
Pablo Cruz's free kick in the 49th minute found Shane Moroney in the box. His diving header bounced past Kyle Reynish to knot the score at 1.
The Cosmos (2-1-3) repeatedly tested Nasco, whose stops -- like his diving save off Hunter Freeman's searing header in the 30th minute -- weren't always the easiest. Freeman, formerly a defender for MLS's Colorado Rapids, had arguably his best game of the season, and quashed Atlanta's greatest first-half threat in the 19th minute, when his slide tackle in front pushed the ball out of bounds. He cleared the subsequent corner, but Senna's cross to an undefended Stefan Dimitrov came too late, costing him the angle on Nasco and keeping the game scoreless.
"I cannot be happy for a tie at home," coach Giovanni Savarese said. "It's not about not losing, it's about winning . . . we dominated completely the match . . . [but] at the end of the day the score is 1-1 and we cannot be satisfied."