Goals by Luke Mulholland, Georgi Hristov and Lucky Mkosana gave the Tampa Bay Rowdies a 3-1 lead over the New York Cosmos in a top-of-the-table clash at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University Sunday afternoon.
Hristov broke a 1-1 tie with his team-leading and joint league-leading 12th goal, touching the ball past an onrushing Kyle Reynish in the 34th minute.
Evans Frimpong received a long ball from the back, chested it and played the ball to Hristov, picking up his second assist of the year.
Mkosana doubled the Rowdies lead in the first minute of first-half stoppage time, taking a ball from Devin Del Do and chipping it over Reynish from just outside the 18-yard box.
The Rowdies jumped in front in the 20th minute when Mulholland intercepted an attempted clearance from a Cosmos and fired it to the right of Reynish for his seventh goal of the season.
The Cosmos equalized three minutes later on Peri Marosevic’s second goal of the season. Marcos Senna sent a free kick to the top right of the 18-yard box where it was headed twice by Cosmos players before landing to Stefan Dimitrov, whose point-blank shot was saved by Rowdies goalkeeper Diego Restrepo.
The rebound squirted out and Marosevic pounded, putting the ball past the goal line before Restrepo could swat it away.
Tampa Bay had the game’s first quality chance in the seventh minute when Mulholland set up for a free kick. But his low attempt was saved by Reynish, who dived to his left.
Five minutes later, Paulo Mendes had a chance for the Cosmos, but his volley off the bounce from 16 yards was off target.
New York had a great chance to tie the game again in the 37th minute when Dmitrov latched onto a Hunter Freeman cross, but his open header from eight yards out was wide of the net.
Before the game, legendary Cosmos goalkeeper Shep Messing was honored, presented with a soccer ball signed by every member of the current team.
Messing, who is also a renowned broadcaster, played six seasons in the North American Soccer League, making his Cosmos debut May 20, 1974.
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|