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Cosmos draw but moving in right direction as playoffs approach

New York Cosmos midfielder Walter Restrepo #20 and

New York Cosmos midfielder Walter Restrepo #20 and Atlanta Silverbacks defender Rauwshan McKenzie #2 jump for a header during the first half of a game at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Brad Penner

With the start of the North American Soccer League playoffs a little more than a month away, the Cosmos have four games to get their offensive act together.

An optimist would point out some encouraging signs in their 1-1 draw at Shuart Stadium Sunday. They outplayed the Atlanta Silverbacks and rallied for an equalizing goal in the 70th minute, which snapped their two-game losing streak.

A pessimist would note that their lone score was an own goal as they extended their winless skid to four matches (0-2-2). The Cosmos have scored three goals in that span and haven't won since Sept. 12.

The Cosmos enjoyed the better of the play, had more scoring opportunities (they outshot Atlanta 15-3) and allowed only one shot on goal, the visitors' lone score off Junior Burgos' free kick that Michal Mravec headed past goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer at the far post in the 38th minute.

"It is frustrating just because we know we had a lot of chances and we couldn't get more goals," midfielder Andres Flores said. "We did a good game as always. We kept the ball. We just have to be a little be more calm when we get the chances."

Compounding the Cosmos' problems was the loss of former Spanish international striker Raul, who was forced from the game with a right ankle injury in the 53rd minute.

"He's hurting. When he steps, makes a movement, he feels pain there," said coach Giovanni Savarese, who added that the team will wait until Monday to determine the severity of Raul's injury and whether he will be ready for Wednesday's game in Atlanta. "It doesn't seem to be something very serious, but it is very painful."

Atlanta goalkeeper Steward Ceus (seven saves) stopped everything the Cosmos sent his way except for Ayoze's corner kick that deflected off the Silverbacks' Simon Mensing during a scramble in front of the net.

"We worked really hard today up top," forward Lucky Mkosana said. "We want to build off of today's game."

Savarese was encouraged by what he witnessed.

"The most important thing is that we're creating the chances like we did today," he said. "We're moving the ball well and today I thought that we were much better defensively."

New York Sports