With one swift kick of his right foot, Danny Szetela gave the Cosmos a big shot in the arm Saturday night.
After the Cosmos surrendered a two-goal lead, Szetela scored in the 84th minute to lift them to a 3-2 North American Soccer League victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks at Hofstra.
"We just had to keep fighting to the last minute," Szetela said.
Jemal Johnson sent a feed from the right side into the box that Hans Denissen one-touched to Szetela, who drilled a 12-yard shot into the lower left corner past goalkeeper Eric Ati.
"Maybe I mis-hit it a little bit, but thank God the turf was wet and I found the corner of the net," Szetela said.
A draw would have hurt the Cosmos' (4-3-4, 16 points) chances of catching San Antonio (7-3-1, 22) for the fall season title and an automatic playoff spot with seven games remaining.
"Today we get a little bit of feeling of last year," coach Giovanni Savarese said. "These type of games in the end, you are able to resolve, get a goal and believe."
The Cosmos, who extended their unbeaten streak to four games (2-0-2), have a 5-0-1 record vs. Atlanta (3-5-2, 11) since returning to competitive play last year.
Still, the Silverbacks (3-5-2, 11) made the Cosmos sweat. With the hosts clinging to a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute, goalkeeper Kyle Zobeck could not get a handle on Ryan Roushandel's 26-yard free kick and Pablo Cruz slotted home the rebound. Zobeck played in place of the injured Jimmy Maurer (thumb ligaments).
"It was just a personal mistake," Zobeck said. "It's something I do a million times and I didn't do right that time. Fortunately, my teammates had my back."
The 4,502 fans got their money's worth in the freewheeling game. The Cosmos struck 41 seconds after kickoff as Mads Stokkelien back-heeled Hunter Gorskie's cross from point-blank range. Midfielder Sebastian Guenzatti doubled the lead in the ninth minute, heading in David Diosa's feed from the edge of the 6-yard box.
Atlanta moved within 2-1 in the 16th minute when Zobeck pushed Edgar Espinoza's header off the right post, but Junior Sandoval followed up with the rebound.
"We became a little bit uncomfortable after we found the two goals early," Savarese said. "We got into a little trouble and we allowed them to get that goal."