Even without the Marcos Senna in the lineup, the Cosmos can be a difficult team to beat.
The Cosmos continued their march to the North American Soccer League spring season title with a 3-0 victory over the defending champion San Antonio Scorpions Saturday night at Hofstra.
Raul converted a penalty kick in the first half and Roversio and North Babylon's Leo Fernandes added second-half headers before 5,032 spectators at Shuart Stadium. Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made three saves to record his fifth shutout.
The Cosmos had lost all four 2014 encounters to San Antonio, including a semifinal playoff game.
"It was one of the most complete games we've played in the past three years," Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said.
The Cosmos (5-0-3, 18 points) solidified their hold on first place. With two games remaining in the 10-game spring season, the Cosmos entered the match with a three-point advantage over the idle Tampa Bay Rowdies (3-1-3, 12) and a five-point margin over the Jacksonville Armada (3-2-1, 10) which played Minnesota United in a later match Saturday night. The spring champion will earn one of four playoff berths in November.
If they win their final two matches -- at Minnesota on Saturday and at home against Jacksonville on June 13 -- the Cosmos will secure the spring crown regardless how their opposition fares.
Savarese decided to rest Senna after the former Spanish international midfielder felt some tightness in his hamstring during last week's 2-2 draw at Carolina. He did not train this past week. With a full load of games upcoming -- Saturday night's's was the first of four matches in 11 days -- Savarese wanted to be cautious.
Raul lifted the Cosmos into a 1-0 lead via a penalty kick in the 18th minute. Former Cosmos midfielder Joseph Nane, who was Senna's understudy last season, pulled down forward Lucky Mkosana by the shirt in the penalty area and referee Kevin Terry signaled a penalty kick.
With goalkeeper Daryl Sattler darting to his left and right in an attempt to distract the former Spanish international striker, Raul drilled a shot into the lower left corner with his left foot for his third goal of the season.
Walter Restrepo had a fabulous opportunity to double the score against his former teammates in the 25th minute. Unmarked five yards out, Restrepo managed to sky a left-wing cross by the overlapping Ayoze.
Roversio made sure another service by Ayoze turned into a goal in the 81st minute. Ayoze lofted a 30-yard free kick from the right side into the box and the center back headed it home for his first goal of the season.
Fernandes scored on a close-range header in the 86th minute. Raul crossed the ball from the left side and Mkosana flicked to Fernandes, who scored his third goal.