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Cosmos on impressive drive as playoffs near

New York Cosmos midfielder Ruben Bover #15 celebrates

New York Cosmos midfielder Ruben Bover #15 celebrates his goal against FC Edmonton during the second half of a game at Hofstra University's James M. Shuart Stadium on Sunday, Oct 11., 2015. Credit: Brad Penner

Memo to all North American Soccer League teams: Be afraid, be very afraid of the Cosmos.

Only weeks before the playoffs begin, the Cosmos are peaking at the right time.

For the second time in five nights, they recorded a 3-0 win. FC Edmonton became their latest victim at Shuart Stadium on Sunday after dispatching the Atlanta Silverbacks by the same score on the road Wednesday.

"It's more the intensity and how we play together collectively that made the big difference," coach Giovanni Savarese said.

"We lost it for a few games, but we're catching back the rhythm," said midfielder Sebastien Guenzatti, who scored his second goal in as many matches.

Moreover, the Cosmos (13-4-11, 50 points) moved atop the NASL combined standings over Minnesota (13-4-10, 49) and Ottawa (13-4-10, 49) with two games remaining.

If they finish first and win their semifinal playoff game Nov. 7, the Cosmos could host the Nov. 14 final.

Guenzatii said hosting the final was "very important. Our fans deserve it, most of all. We deserve to play at home . . . It would be amazing."

The Cosmos showed they meant business, recording back-to-back shutout wins for the first time this season. Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer made only one save for his 10th shutout.

"There weren't many moments that we felt threatened," Savarese said.

The Cosmos maintained ball possession for huge stretches, striking on Guenzatti's second goal in as many games off a Gaston Cellerino feed in the 37th minute. The two combined for a goal in Atlanta.

"Cellerino is bringing our confidence up," Guenzatti said. "He's a great player. Reading his passing, his moves, is pretty easy . . . We talked before the game and whatever he does, I follow."

An unmarked Raul added his seventh goal off an Ayoze corner kick in the 45th minute. Second-half sub Ruben Bover scored his first goal from a difficult angle on the right flank in the 85th minute. "Amazing," Guenzatti said of Bover's goal.

If there was a downside, it's that the Cosmos have to wait until an Oct. 24 match in San Antonio to continue momentum.

"The good thing is that we have two weeks where everybody can recuperate and have everybody physically very strong," Savarese said.

Not exactly what the rest of the NASL wants to hear from the hottest team in the league.


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