87th minute….. The crowd of the 5 Points presses up against the front of the stands, packed shoulder to shoulder, confetti already raining down from above. The verses of “Vamos Cosmos” being sung for the 7th or 8th time in a row while the tension builds as we are mere minutes away from clinching a trip to the championship. 88th minute….. “This is it,” I think to myself as I reach down into the bleachers to grab handfuls of the shredded paper that was blanketing the stands like fresh snow. 89th minute….. FC Edmonton won’t back down and is continuously putting pressure on the Cosmos defense, a corner is granted. I look up at the grimacing faces behind me, ‘can you imagine?’ is the question I imagine all the supporters asking themselves in their minds. We’ve come this far, no way this inferior team takes this moment away from us. Everything is set up too perfectly for a late corner to upset it all. Late go ahead goal in a tight game? Check. Scored on our end for once? Check. Defense shutting out Edmonton for 99% of the match? Check.The back nets removed so the players can come into the Points and celebrate with the supporters? Check. Rumors of a post game celebration in the parking lot with the team? Check. 90th minute….. The corner is taken and I just see a bounce and blue jerseys running around with their arms extended. Anger and disbelief fill up inside me as I stand with hands on my head hoping to see a late offside call by the refs. That relief doesn’t come and the knot in my stomach tightens as each second passes in extra time. Reality hits me that the festive mood in the section was very premature and we won’t get to celebrate in our fortress. Completely gutted.
- I wouldn’t have been that upset if we were losing all game and tied late. It was that the game was practically over, my mind was racing with the anticipation for the awesome post game celebration, and then that damn corner. I’ve never hated turf so much in my life, no way that ball bounces that high on grass.
- This did turn out to be a “trap” game. I expected that Edmonton would play tough all game, like they usually do, but I didn’t think we’d play as sluggish as we did in the 1st half. The Cosmos have been a 2nd half team all season and this was another prime example of that.
- Alessandro Noselli is an incredible super sub, he brings such energy late in the game. I understand and appreciate how Gio uses that to the team’s advantage, but I can’t help but think having Noselli in at the beginning would create more scoring chances.
- I’m really impressed with Kyle Reynish the last three games. He settled down after his mistakes against the Rowdies and should have had his third consecutive clean sheet yesterday. There wasn’t much he could do to defend against that header.
- Horrible calls by the refs all game, that yellow to Senna was complete poppycock.
- Danny Szetela has my fan favorite vote. He plays with such intensity and it shows how appreciative he is of the supporters. Great job to those who made the “Danny Szetela = USMNT” sign. I hate that I keep missing his post game parking lot hang outs! Hey Cosmos front office, you need to extend your shuttle times after games.
- For as gut-wrenching that draw was for us fans, you could see it was even more painful for the players. I bet you could hear a pin drop in that locker room post game.
- I’m disappointed that general attendance was only 5,624. Even though I knew it was tough going against the Jets vs Patriots at home and the regular NFL games, I still thought we may be able to get 7-8K. The bright spot was that the supporter section was well attended and sounded great.
- It’s a little scary trying to clinch on the road. San Antonio is not a gimme in their stadium and I don’t want to have to clinch against the spring champs in Atlanta on the last game of the fall season. Though a Rowdies loss would save us all from worrying too much.
As the game was well in the books, this moment put everything in perspective and made worrying about a draw so trivial….
God bless Zachary, he was amazing and inspiring out there.
Let this serve as motivation for this weekend.