Sometimes size does matter.
Sometimes quickness matters even more.
Just ask Cosmos 5-6 midfielder Hagop Chirishian, who was giving away at least six inches to Ottawa Fury defenders as Hunter Freeman was about to take a corner kick three minutes into stoppage time Saturday night.
Chirishian, who had just come on as a substitute only minutes earlier, found a gap in the defense and scored three minutes into added time to lift the Cosmos to a 2-1 victory before 4,411 at Shuart Stadium, to bolster the club's North American Soccer League playoff hopes.
The Cosmos (11-6-7, 40 points) solidified their third-place standing. The fall and spring title winners receive automatic playoff berths, followed by the next two teams with the highest points. The Fury (7-12-5, 26) virtually was eliminated.
"It was very important to get these three points and get some more confidence, knowing that we weren't playing that well," said Diomar Diaz, who connected for the Cosmos' first goal.
"It shows the character of the team," Chirishian said. "We just fight all the way to the end. Sometimes it doesn't go our way. This time . . . we got that luck on our side."
Chirishian, who had played all of 409 minutes before entering the match for Ayoze in the 88th minute, made the most of his limited time. A few minutes later came the corner kick against a backline that averages 6-2, including 6-5 team captain Omar Jarun. He positioned himself close to the near left post and knocked it past goalkeeper Romuald Peiser with his thigh.
"There were big defenders in front of me and I just kept my eye on the ball and it just landed perfectly on my thigh," Chirishian said. "It was the only chance I could put on goal."
It also was the only goal Chirishian has tallied in league play this season; his other came in the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup.
Coach Giovanni Savarese was ejected in the 76th minute. He had ventured out of the coaching box as he claimed that referee Daniel Fitzgerald's call on an Ottawa goal kick should have been a corner kick for the Cosmos.
"It was a mistake of the referee," Savarese said. "I said this was a corner. I wasn't yelling or anything. Just went to the linesman and said that was a corner. But he said I was right outside the technical area and that's why he took me out . . . I just think the game was too big for the referee today."
Fitzgerald issued 10 yellow cards, including eight on Ottawa, and a red card on the Fury's Tom Heinemann in second-half stoppage time.
Diaz, hampered by a hamstring injury for most of the season, scored his first goal of the campaign in the 43rd minute with a 6-yard header off Danny Szetela's right-wing cross.
The Fury equalized in the 58th minute as Heinemann slid home a right-wing feed from 6 yards off a Phillippe Davies feed past goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer.