Needing a win to book a spot in The Championship, the boys in green came out looking to score from the opening whistle. Although both sides went into halftime scoreless, there were plenty of chances to find the scoresheet within the first 45.
The 20th minute saw the hosts nearly find the back of the net. Eugene Starikov was sent through on goal by forward, Emmanuel Ledesma. Starkiov’s right-footed shot challenged the visitor’s goalkeeper, Austin Pack, who made a crucial save.
Pack was put to the test once again when Emmanuel Ledesma had a go on goal himself just prior to the halftime whistle. The shot from outside the box made the shot-stopper dive to make the save.
Just three minutes into the second half, Puerto Rico FC opened the games scoring. Midfielder, Emery Welshman, capitalized on a turnover taking a touch to get past Dejan Jaković and chipping a charging Jimmy Maurer.
In phenomenal fashion, the hosts equalized just three minutes later. Midfielder, Eric Calvillo sent the ball over to Andres Flores. With his first touch, the Salvadorian set up his teammate, Emmanuel Ledesma, who fired first time at goal. The forward’s shot from outside the eighteen curled around Austin Pack into the top corner of the goal, equalizing the game at one a piece.
Ledesma found the back of the net once again, this time in the 56th minute. The Argentine received the ball over-the-top from Jimmy Mulligan and turned towards goal. He muscled off PRFC defender, Jake Stovall, and placed his shot into the bottom left of the goal.
The boys in green doubled their lead in the 67th minute as Emmanuel Ledesma became a hat-trick hero. At the left side of goal, the Cosmos leading scorer placed a perfect left-footed chip over Austin Pack, scoring his tenth of the season.
Smiles filled all the faces of those watching the game when man of the night, Carlos Mendes, found the scoresheet in the 75th minute. The defender, who was making a run at goal, received an Emmanuel Ledesma cross from the right flank and poked it home.
Emery Welshman was able to pull one back for the visitors, finding his brace in the 84th minute. He was found at the right side of the box by Brian Bement and, similarly to his first, chipped Jimmy Maurer.
Five minutes into stoppage time, second half substitute, Lucky Mkosana, found the Cosmos fifth goal of the game. The forward was found by Andres Flores on his path towards goal, leaving him to finish past Pack.
With this result, the New York Cosmos have earned their spot on the NASL Championship, looking to earn their third consecutive title.
Although their opponent is unknown at the moment,the boys in green will play their semi-final game Sunday, November 5th on BeIn Sports.