With two second-half goals in two minutes Saturday night, the New York Cosmos earned the 2013 NASL Fall Season Championship and secured their spot in the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl. After a San Antonio score early in the match and an evenly played first half, Marcos Senna tied the game in the 52nd minute and Stefan Dimitrov gave the Cosmos the lead in the 54th.
The Cosmos now move on to face the host Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. a week after each team’s regular season finale against each other in Atlanta.
The Cosmos fell behind after only three minutes to a goal by Scorpions Polish striker Tomasz Zahorski, but were a constant threat and the game swung in their favor in the space of three second half minutes. Former Spanish international Marcos Senna pounced to equalize in the 52nd minute, then Bulgarian striker Stefan Dimitrov gave his side the lead two minutes later with his first goal of the season. Despite an injury to Senna and having a man sent off, New York held on to win 2-1.
“All the guys knew that we needed three points to go to the Soccer Bowl and its not easy to do when you’re a goal down, but we came back after halftime ready to do the job,” Cosmos assistant coach Carlos Llamosa said. “In the second half we tried to be more aggressive and fortunately for us we were able to capitalize.”
The Cosmos won five Soccer Bowl titles as members of the original North American Soccer League, with their last triumph coming in 1982 when a goal by Giorgio Chinaglia defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 in San Diego. The legendary club returned to NASL action on August 3 and have won eight games, drawn four and lost only one to qualify for NASL Soccer Bowl 2013.
Victory means New York has opened an eight-point lead at the top of the NASL standings and cannot be caught by their nearest challenger, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who can only generate a maximum of six points from their last two games.
The NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 clash between the Silverbacks and Cosmos will air live on ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.