Leave it to Marcos Senna to score a vital goal to keep the Cosmos' spring season title hopes alive.
Senna's swerving, 20-yard goal lifted the Cosmos to a 1-0 North American Soccer League victory over Minnesota United FC Monday night at Hofstra's Shuart Stadium.
"It's a talent I have," Senna said through a translator. "It's not exactly the first time I scored a goal like that."
The Cosmos (3-2, nine points) snapped their scoreless streak at 294 minutes and ended a two-game losing streak while moving within three points of the first-place Fort Lauderdale Strikers (4-1, 12) and United (4-1, 12).
A loss would have made it difficult for the Cosmos to secure the spring crown and an automatic playoff berth in a nine-game season that was shortened because of the World Cup break (the fall season is 18 games). The spring and fall champions qualify for the postseason along with the teams with the two best records.
"The win's huge for us," goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer said. "It's such a short season. Every game is important, but when you're playing a team that could have gone nine points ahead of us, that would have been really tough to come back from."
Senna made it a bit easier for the Cosmos. Hunter Freeman floated a corner kick to the former Spanish international outside the top right of the penalty area. He curved his shot around the defense and goalkeeper Matt Van Oekel into the left corner.
"That guy is just unbelievable," Maurer said. "He's not just a guy who is going to play this pretty game. Some of the headers he wins. He's 36, 37 years old and he's dominating these guys in the air. Just an absolute beast."
Senna might not wind up being the only former Spanish standout on the Cosmos. Former international striker Raul, whose contract with Al Sadd (Qatar) ends this month, reportedly will join the team this season, according to Spanish newspapers.
"Raul who?" coach Giovanni Savarese said with a laugh. "I'm just kidding.
"Raul is a great player. He is a player that any team would like to have, but I don't like to talk about players that are not with the squad. In the future, there might be something like that."