I want to start out by talking about the turnout. I was stunned at the gate-scanned attendance (3,750) for the season home opener. For a second match in a row, I continue to be stunned.An incredible 5,100 fans came out to support our Boys in Green and White (and sometimes Royal Blue) on a cool Saturday evening.
We hosted Boston City FC, an NPSL side splitting their home matches between Medford and Revere this season. Last season when the clubs first met, Cosmos came back from Boston with all three points, and a clean-sheet and four unanswered goals.
In the first half, our Boys in Green and White cruelly allowed the visitors hope that they had what it took to hold their own that night. It was 0-0 at the half. There was some listlessness going on with the squad that was difficult to pinpoint. Some of the more experienced players did not appear happy as they exited the field.
What was said in the locker room during the break isn't known, but whatever it was it must have worked because it completely changed in the second half. The squad took to the field and absolutely steamrolled Boston's defenses. ending in a 5-0 victory for our 'Mos.
Espinal scored first, followed by Charlie Ledula. Junior Burgos scored a killer goal from 30 yards out, followed up by local New Yorker Joey Sanchez making his mark in the 85th minute. The cherry on top, with the last kick of the game, Burgos closed out the night with a 2nd goal off a free kick from 25 yards and taking home Man of the Match tonight.
Security was a little more relaxed at gate control. Few reports of anyone having problems coming in through the gate. The line was long, especially with the increased numbers, but it moved along quickly. Most people were seated by, or within five minutes of, kickoff.
The Five Points section was in fine form Saturday. The inclusion of trumpets and a second line of drums ensured they were heard all night. Some familiar faces from past seasons were back in the section, as well as new young ones joining in to help out with the cheers and drums. Tricolor vertical bands created a striking visual structure for the section. Rocco B. Commisso, majority owner of the New York Cosmos, and Joe Barone, Senior Vice President, stopped by to say hello and to thank the section for their devotion.
I don't know if different smoke devices were used, but smoke seemed more photogenic than usual and less of an issue for fans in nearby sections.
Especially wonderful to see was an evolution in the fans' interactions with the supporters section. That first home match was almost like an ice-breaking session. Fans were reminded what the supporters contributed to the match, and in this second home match grew more comfortable. Part of this is likely due to the 2017 season and how fans' experience of the Five Points supporter section was appreciative but from afar, as they occupied the distant section away from the main stands, with its own entrance. Fans joined in with the supporters for dance and song. Small ones in green shook down everyone they could for stickers. It was a genuine and touching scene.
The players rounded out the night, seemingly more satisfied with their performance in the second half, and came over to talk to some of the smaller fans.
The rain luckily held off falling in full force until after the match; it must have been all the Lucky Mksona jerseys walking around in the stands.
Ending on a high note, the Cosmos will hopefully be in the right state of mind and bring their best face to Tuesday May 14th as they face off against newly-trademark'd USL Championship side Hartford Athletic in the 2nd round of the US Open Cup. Hartford Athletic has been struggling just a bit, having lost nine out of their past ten matches (with the tenth a draw).
As they keep telling anyone who will listen, however, they are professionals. Anything can happen. Kickoff is at 7:30pm, and can be seen on ESPN+. Let's go, New York Cosmos!