It’s the score that counts but Boston City’s determined performance deserved more than another lopsided defeat as they fell 5-0 away to the New York Cosmos.

Two stunning free kicks from the often-unplayable Junior Burgos gave keeper Jason Katz no chance and a pair of goals from rebounds after fine saves proved the difference.

The first half was scoreless as the new-look Lions, with key changes made after last weekend’s forgettable 6-0 thrashing at the hands of Hartford City, frustrated the professional Cosmos and went in level at the break. The two teams – in terms of payroll, experience and full-time training – are poles apart, but there was little to choose between them at the interval, Boston City having soaked up waves of pressure and looked to hit on the break.

Keith Dixon put in a composed performance at right back, closing down the flank that had been so exposed a week ago. Willian Bonora impressed on the opposite side until injury claimed him after 41 minutes and Avner Alves added experience and composure to the back four.

Michael Bustamante had resisted being a player-coach for the opening two matches, but slotted himself into a midfield that improved as a result, but chances created for striker Jhonata were few.  Bustamante last played for Boston City in a NPSL playoff loss on penalties away to Legacy 76 in Virginia in 2016 when he was named to the league’s all-NPSL first team.

Not until 30 minutes in did the Cosmos breach the visiting defense with a clear chance as Salvatore Barone flashed a shot across goal and just wide. Katz was at his finest to deny Bledji Bardic three minutes later and that was it for a first half that helped banish the memory of the Hartford debacle.

Despite the optimism, a Cosmos breakthrough was inevitable, and it came only four minutes after the break as Katz denied Burgos, but Darwin Aspinal tucked away the rebound. Charlie Ledula added a second and it was game over after 74 minutes when Burgos curled a magnificent 30-yard free kick beyond Katz into the top corner. The man of the match did likewise with the final kick of the match with his second and New York’s fifth, sandwiching Joseph Sanchez’s rebound goal after Katz and denied David Diosa.

The 5,121 crowd will have gone home feasting on a 5-0 win to maintain the Cosmos’ spot on top of the Atlantic Conference, but it is Bustamante and Boston City who have food for thought going into Wednesday’s trip to New York Athletic Club.