If these Cosmos are trying to create a new identity, separate from the high-flying, superstar-laden team of three decades past, they're certainly going about it the right way.
They didn't entertain by domination over the winless San Antonio Scorpions Saturday, as they would have in the olden days. They entertained by drama. If late-game substitute Henry Lopez's grin was any indication, the Cosmos were having a raucous good time at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
Lopez's line-drive header off a flick from Marcos Senna in the 92nd minute won it for the Cosmos, 2-1, giving them their second victory of the fall season, both in stoppage time and both at home.
"This is the best feeling a player can have," said the Guatemalan native, who entered in the 71st minute for Diomar Diaz. "I saw everyone was fighting to score the goal and have the win and when Marcos [passed] in the box, I just tried to run between the two big guys and score. It is a good feeling."
Though the Cosmos (2-1-1) controlled possession and otherwise stymied the Scorpions in the first half, their efforts proved fruitless until the 42nd minute when Diaz charged into the penalty area, grabbed a richoted pass and blasted it into the top right corner of the net to give the Cosmos the lead.
The Cosmos, playing without midfielders Sebastian Guenzatti and Joseph Nane, who were both ejected in the previous contest against the Carolina RailHawks, still contained San Antonio to only one significant threat in the first half. That came in the 36th minute when Ramirez, coming up the left wing, angled a shot just wide past goalkeeper Kyle Reynish.
Despite playing a man down for most of the second -- the Scorpions (0-4) lost Greg Janicki to his second yellow -- San Antonio able to get on the board in the 66th minute on Tomasz Zahorski's fourth goal in four games. Zahorski scored off a rebound.
That, though, was no match to this new Cosmos identity -- one that seems to be based on scrappy wins.
"We created chances and our goalkeeper was able to be big," Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. "We created more opportunities . . . and we ended up winning at the last second."