By Dr. David Kilpatrick
The narrative nature of sport is such that new heroes are made each game. Over the awning at the entrance to Margiotta Hall, which houses the game day locker rooms at Shuart Stadium, there’s a message on a banner that says “Make History Happen.” Heroes make history, and there was no shortage of heroics on display when the Cosmos returned to play at Hofstra last month.
Two home games in August won 2-1 with goals in stoppage time. Cosmos Country hasn’t enjoyed such heroics since 1984, but the new squad is quickly making up for all that lost time.
The goal from Peri Marosevic in the 44th minute of the August 3rd home opener against the Strikers was the first league goal for the club since Rick Davis scored against Toronto on Sept 5, 1984. And Alessandro Noselli’s goal in the third minute of stoppage time sent the sellout crowd into hysterics.
Three weeks later, a 42nd minute goal from Diomar Díaz meant another 1-0 halftime lead, while save upon spectacular save from Kyle Reynish helped set up another dramatic finish, Henry Lopez heading home the winner in the second minute of stoppage time against the Scorpions.
Noselli came on in the 62nd minute against Ft. Lauderdale. Lopez was subbed in at the 71st minute against San Antonio. That’s not just luck. That’s great gameday coaching.
The Cosmos are once again playing a mode of fútbol sure to excite the partisan New Yorker along with the purist lover of the Beautiful Game. Head Coach Giovanni Savarese and COO Erik Stover’s work in assembling this thrilling squad may be less visible but no less heroic.
Ayoze and Marcus Senna are quickly establishing themselves as the league’s most dynamic midfield duo, adding to the legacy of Siggy Stritzl and John Kerr, Franz Beckenbauer and Vladislav Bogicevic. Together with Joseph Nane and Danny Szetela, playing holding roles like Rick Davis and Johan Neeskens, this Cosmos team is built to dominate possession with style.
Less talented, tactically cynical sides will strive to spoil that aesthetic, but that’s part of the heritage. “Every team played a defensive game against us,” recalled Rick Davis a few days ago. “No one would want to try and see who could score more. Anybody would have difficulty trying to keep up with the teams we had.”
There’s no shortage of déjà vu in Cosmos Country.
Perhaps the greatest of heroes in Hempstead on game days have been the fans. The three supporters groups who come together in the Five Points behind the north goal at Shuart – Borough Boys NYC, La Banda Del Cosmos and Sagan's Army – help create an atmosphere at Hofstra that inspires heroics on the pitch.
It’s not history repeating. It’s history being made. It’s not twice in a lifetime. It’s building something to last beyond our lifetime. Cosmos Country is once again enjoying the emergence of new heroes, writing new chapters in the most storied legacy in North American soccer.