With the Cosmos locked in a 1-1 halftime tie with the Carolina RailHawks Saturday night, coach Giovanni Savarese gave his team some sage advice.
“I told them to make sure we are enjoying every minute of the second half,” he said. “And we did so.”
The Cosmos did so by erupting for five second-half goals in a 6-1 rout, the most goals they have scored since returning to competitive soccer in 2013.
Juan Arango and Jairo Arrieta tallied three minutes apart to snap the deadlock, finishing with two goals apiece before 3,221 at Shuart Stadium.
The Cosmos (13-6-2, 41 points; 7-2-2, 23) climbed into first place past FC Edmonton (12-4-3, 38; 7-1-1, 22) in the NASL overall standings and fall table.
“We completely dominated the game,” Savarese said. “I’m very proud of the guys. Not only was it a great result, but it was quality play as well.”
On the go-ahead score in the 58th minute, Sebastian Guenzatti turned his marker, Steven Miller, around and drilled a shot that goalkeeper Akira Fitzgerald saved. Arango slotted home the rebound for his team-leading ninth goal.
“We saw what Arango is capable of,” Savarese said. “He gave us quality goals, patience and strength to look like a warrior. I thought he was fantastic. One of the best games of the season.”
Three minutes later, Arrieta’s 24-yard chip shot bounded off the crossbar and into the goal.
Andres Flores, who joins the El Salvador national team for World Cup qualifying on Sunday, scored off a deflection (77th minute). Arrieta added his second (82nd minute) and Guenzatti tallied (three minutes into stoppage time).
The only downside was an apparent ankle sprain suffered by captain Carlos Mendes in the 80th minute.
“It doesn’t look good,” Savarese said. “It looks a little bit worse than we expected.”