A second half goal by former Spanish international Marcos Senna gave the New York Cosmos a 1-0 win and the NASL Soccer Bowl Championship in their first year in the league.
The re-booted Cosmos, who won the league’s fall title captured the championship by beating the Spring champion Atlanta Silverbacks at Silverbacks Park in front of 7,211 mostly Silverbacks fans, although they were cheered on by a noisy section of partisan traveling Cosmos faithful.
After dominating the attack in the first half, the Cosmos broke through in to 50th minute. Ayoze took a free kick from 25 yards out that was cleared by an Atlanta defender. The ball fell to Senna who looped an 18 yard shot from the right side into the opposite upper 90.
The championship is the sixth in the history of the fabled New York club, which dominated the former version of the North American Soccer League in the 1970s and 80s.
New York went on the attack early, and only allowed Atlanta a few serious chances in the first half, keeping Silverbacks’ goalkeeper Joe Nasco hopping.
In the fifth minute, Diomar Diaz broke into the area, but had the ball tackled away before he was able to get a shot off.
Atlanta got their first chance in the 10th minute when Borfor Carr made a run down the right side, sending the ball into the area, but it was cleared for a corner kick that New York also successfully defended.
Brad Stisser gave Golden Glove winner Kyle Renish his first test of the game in the 13th minute, taking a shot from the right that the New York ‘keeper easily handled.
Stefan Dimitrov forced Atlanta goalkeeper Joe Nasco to make a big save in the 17th minute, taking a shot that was heading toward the left post before the Atlanta keeper dove to cover it up. Two minutes later Cosmos defender Hunter Freeman took a corner kick from the near side, but sent his effort sailing across the area and out.
Diaz came close twice in a one minute span, first putting a shot wide in the 21`st minute, then getting under a cross from Carlos Mendes and again sending wide.
Dimitrov had the Cosmos best chance in the 28th minute when Freeman put a cross into the area. The Cosmos forward had time to settle the ball, and could have tapped it in, but instead tried to slam a shot, sending it up over the net into the picnic area.
A minute later, Senna took a free kick from just above the penalty area, curling it toward the lower left corner, but Nasco was able to dive to cover it up.
New York continued to put pressure on the Atlanta defense and in the 35th minute, Ayoze played a masterful ball into the area, Paul Mendes got a touch on it, but could not redirect it into the net. Dimitriov had another chance a minute later, sidewinding a shot that Nasco grabbed.
In the dying moments of the first half, Ayoze again played a ball into the area, Nasco could not control it in flight, bobbling it in the air, but he did manage to come up with it.
After doing down a goal, Atlanta began to push the attack, and the Cosmos did well to absorb the pressure to hold onto the lead.
Danny Barrera instigated an attack on the left side in the 61st minute, putting a ball across the face of the goal, but the Cosmos cleared it out for a corner, which they also successfully defended. A minute later, Mike Radolph’s cross into the area was headed high by Pedro Mendes.
In the 78th minute, Atlanta’s Shane Maroney barreled is way into the goal box, but Reynish threw himself at the ball to block the shot.
One minute into the five minutes of stoppage time, Barrera swung a corner kick into the goal box, and Reynish punched it away.
The 7,211 attendance set a new record for NASL Soccer Bowl since the NASL returned in 2011.
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