Senna’s winner leads Cosmos to first title since 1982

SoccerBowl1 (NASL)

By MIKE GRAMAJO

ATLANTA, Ga. — For the first time in more than thirty years, the North American Soccer League championship is going back to New York.

Marcos Senna’s second-half wonder strike lifted the New York Cosmos to a 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks for their sixth Soccer Bowl Championship in team history on Saturday night, in front of 7,211 fans at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.

“The New York Cosmos are back. We worked very hard this season to play in the NASL,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “We had to come in the second part of the season, and we didn’t have much time to work. Tonight winning the championship and bringing it back to New York is a proud moment.”

After a scoreless first half, the Cosmos returned with a wave of attacks, which culminated into the game-winning goal. Ayoze helped set up the goal after he was brought down outside the penalty area. The midfielder  stepped up to take the free kick, which seconds later deflected off the Silverbacks defense, finding Senna, who quickly curled a shot into the top left corner, beating Silverbacks goalkeeper Joe Nasco.

“At that moment it’s complicated to describe the goal, only thing I can say is that we’re proud of this moment. The goal wasn’t mine, it was a goal for everybody,” Senna told reporters after the game. “I think our job was hard, but it was worth it. We deserve this championship and that goal ices everything we did in the season.

“I’m grateful to the fans who made the 14-16 hour road-trip. Our fans are the 12th man and they deserve this moment and this championship. I definitely want to return next year, and play more years if my body feels right. I want to end my career with the Cosmos.”

The first 15 minutes of match show cased a Silverbacks side poised to break the deadlock. Danny Barrera’s free-kick outside the box, which was saved by Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish, setoff a string of attacks. However, Giovanni Savarese’s men answered back when Stefan Dimitrov almost converted the opening goal in the 16th minute, only to fail to convert on a clear look at goal.

Despite the Silverbacks looking threatening in the opening minutes, the Cosmos held possession of the ball for much of the game, contesting Nasco several times throughout the game. Ayoze almost put the Long Island side in the scoreboard before halftime when his shot curled its way into the net, leaving Nasco to dive for the ball to keep the game scoreless.

“It was tremendous for us, and we’re very proud to have him (Marcos Senna) in the team,” Savarese told reporters. “Offensively we were very solid. Kyle (Reynish) is the best goalkeeper in the league this season. He’s done a tremendous job.”

After being down 1-0 in the early stages of the second half, the Silverbacks almost leveled the match in the 60th minute when Mike Randolph’s cross found Pedro Mendes to header to ball over the bar. Shane Moroney again almost tied the match for Atlanta in the 77th minute when he had an open opportunity, deflecting the ball off of Reynish’s foot.

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73 Responses to Senna’s winner leads Cosmos to first title since 1982

  1. Maykol says:

    That was some excellent flopping by the cosmos in the second half. 10/10

  2. sony says:

    Bravo COSMOS!!!

  3. Smith says:

    The interesting thing about the Cosmos is that Senna is their only “name” player. The rest are MlS rejects, NASL players, locals, unknowns or past it. The did a great job of building these seemingly sub-par parts into a strong 2nd division side in short order.

    Congratulations.

  4. return of the mullet says:

    was definitely better viewing than the mls game

  5. Hal says:

    what was the atmosphere like on tv? I wasn’t able to watch it. Good crowd?

  6. Rory says:

    How can a team in its first season win its sixth championship? That’s like crediting MLS teams with NASL championships or ASL titles ! Laughable. I’m going to name my team Rangers FC a d when we win something I’ll call it our 53rd championship despite no real connection to the old Rangers and a little geography problem.

    • Smith says:

      Well, they bought the name from the previous owner who bought it from the previous owner who bought it from the original owner. Legally, it’s an unbroken chain of custody and thus the same franchise despite the hiatus whereas if you named your team Rangers, you’d be sued for copyweight infringement as the name is already in use.

      I hope that explains it.

      • Dwight Howard says:

        Are you a Earthquakes fan?

        • petedx says:

          +1, Clash fan.

          • Kingsly Alexander says:

            They were earthquakes by name when they got to Houston. Was there some kind of grass roots effort by the San Jose community to make the earthquakes franchise? What did the city of San Jose do, really? They were just witnesses to a football organization that was placed in front of them and then taken back.

            If San Jose was like Wimbeldon there would be a case, but San Jose’s story isn’t Wimbeldons.

            • Rory says:

              Sorry, I forgot you can simply buy your history now. I think I ‘m going to track down the Fall River rights.

              • Kingsly Alexander says:

                Houston doesn’t claim any of San Jose’s history.

                But what you can buy is a franchise from a city that can’t guarantee its safety because the community wouldn’t support it i.e. Not any willing local inverters and a lack of support from its leaders to secure a stadium.

                It’s Darwinist and you all are Whiners and haters. You couldn’t organize enough support to save your team or rally enough ppl to petition local government and you rally when the franchise was taken away from you and that you complain, ” but it’s not fair”!

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        Except they did a liquidation/administration of the team, because of accumulated debts, which means in fairness to at least their creditors, it should be called (or at least treated like) something else.

        For example, when Gretna FC went under, the fan-created replacement was Gretna 2008. Milton Keynes also lays no claim to its Wimbledon history. It’s half cooked to start over but lay claim to the old team.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      Not really laughable at all. Other sports do it (The Cleveland Browns), and another MLS team (San Jose) has done it. If you think there’s “no connection” between the old and new Cosmos then you really should pay more attention. Either that or guys like Pele and Carlos Alberto must be REALLY confused. I’d go with the former.

      • Smith says:

        Exactly

        And I’m a Red Bulls fan for the record

        I just understand the legality of the business process

    • Vic says:

      We can say this is their first championship in the American Second Division.

    • Quit whining about soccer in the US says:

      Yeah and Vancouver – Seattle just started playing each other a few years ago, inspite of me going to about 60 games over the last 35 years.

  7. Oog says:

    Where’s that Atlanta guy from the other threads saying his team could destroy the Cosmos and then take on anybody in the MLS? Seems unfounded.

    • Jim says:

      Any “Atlanta guy” that would make those statements is foolish. There is a difference in class between MLS & NASL. Trash talk, is just that.

      • Tony says:

        I think he is hoping for Atlanta to be the next dynamo which plays boring parks the bus and hopes for some ref help

        • Vinny Santoretti says:

          Sounds like you’re bitter about your redbulls sitting at home? Dynamo put more balls into the net, no help needed from the refs? If you mean Olave’s red card, fugghidaboutit.

  8. Little Meow says:

    That the Cosmos can be champion of a league and only participated in half of the season makes the NASL look like a joke

    • Smith says:

      True

      Of course, the fact that a team can finish 5th in their MLS conference and still be in the Championship game is pretty much a joke in its own right.

      • Seth says:

        I hear this criticism (and I’ve said it myself) of MLS a lot. So, I decided to compare which teams in the NFL made it to the Super Bowl. To my surprise, for the last 3 years, the Super Bowl has been won by the 5th & 6th place teams in their respective conference.

        I acknowledge that we can’t compare MLS and NFL directly. But one conclusion we might draw is that if a league values parity and it values playoffs, then teams ranked 5th and worse are going to win the championship game.

        And this reality is no indication of the league being a joke.

        • RBNY says:

          Ok. I’ll bite on the NFL comparison – when NFL teams play in playoffs with true home field advantage. When the Giants won the Super Bowl in ’08, they went on the road for every single game during the playoffs because they were lower seeded team… Won them all. Thus their claim to the crown cannot be disputed.

          MLS, on the other hand, lacks any sort of home field advantage. When lower seeded teams get home games, it levels the playing field and dilutes the product. Teams like Houston should have a significant disadvantage and they don’t under the current system. Hell, they even bunkered down with the benefit of a home game vs a 2 seed. Unwatchably boring stuff.

          • Smith says:

            Agree completely

            AND that Houston-KC match was thoroughly unwatchable on every level

            • RBNY says:

              Both teams were practically begging the other to take the ball and attack. Playing tennis smashing the ball back and forth. Neither hand any incentive to go forward. Bunker ball.

          • Seth says:

            I think I may have miss-communicated my point. My only point was that saying the MLS is a joke because it might have a 4th placed team in the final is making a fuss about a small thing.

            I tend to agree that their should be a little more advantage for the higher seed. I agree that the Giants’ were deserved Super Bowl Champions. And I agree that the HOU – SKC match was horrible. At least the RSL – POR game was full of action.

            Also, if we are going to call MLS a joke, we should at least call it a joke for something legitimate, like how MLS scheduled the Playoffs. I feel like that lead to the dreary HOU – SKC match more than their final position in the season.

            • Brain Guy says:

              It’s not “a small thing.” As a “reward” for finishing first, RBNY got to skip a play-in game and then play 30 extra minutes at home. Offsetting that was the fact that they had to travel twice, while Houston (which finished fourth but has now played three of their four playoff games at home) had to travel only once. Unless you reach the final, finishing first means nothing. In the NFL, it does mean something.

        • Hal says:

          SOCCER IS NOT THE NFL

    • Andre Mariner says:

      Not even close to the joke of the Houston Dynamo being in place for another “championship game.”

      • Smith says:

        Exactly

        For the record, I live in NY and support both 1st and 2nd division soccer. We go see both the Red Bulls and the Cosmos and enjoy both for what they are.

        I just recognize that both leagues have their shortcomings.

        The Cosmos only played the 2nd half of the season, but were clearly the class of the league and, from what I can tell, much less of a joke than Toronto, DC or Chivas.

        • Vinny Santoretti says:

          Who gives a flying monkeys about NY Pink Cows or the rebranded (we were great in the 70′s) Cosmos. Much rather see a new team from another part of the U.S. 99 % of folks not living in NY agree.

      • Vinny Santoretti says:

        Big tankard of SOUR GRAPES you got there. Make yourself some sour whine.

        • Smith says:

          No grapes

          Just an acknowledgement that DC, Chivas and TFC are an embarrassment to the game.

          As for the rest of the country, they get press when they win

          Cosmos won. They get the coverage.

          Not that hard to figure out

    • McQ says:

      go to Wikipedia and look up “Clausura” and “Apertura” Bozo…

    • Sam U El says:

      Actually the fact they only participated in the Fall season and with only half a year to field a club says more about the professionalism of the Cosmos…. I think it should be applauded not scorned… I’m sure that it was already stated here before but ref:

      link to en.wiki­pedia.org

  9. Jim says:

    Senna’s finish was class. The better team won, period. Have to question the Silverbacks lineup and substitutions.

  10. HoBo says:

    Congrats Cosmos….
    Even if your not a fan of the New York Cosmos or NASL (which I am btw), its good for soccer in our country.

    I’m looking forward to the 2014 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, should be interesting with Cosmos and Orlando City having something to prove.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      There’s your problem though. OC will soon be “promoted.” With NY City next in line Cosmos are stuck in the minors for several years and just won the biggest title in their division. Yeah, I mean, trying a Cinderella run in USOC is all they have.

      Further problem with that: at that point they will be risking their claim to be held down by the system. They have to deliver.

      There are worse burdens for a minor league team, but they are hemmed in by reality.

  11. MLSatlanta says:

    As a Silverbacks fan I’ve got to say I’m disappointed we lost. The game was fairly even with not a lot of chances at either end of the field and ultimately the difference was a classy finish from a world class player in Sennah (sp?)

    The best thing that I can take away from this game is Atlanta was put in the spotlight and our fans really showed that there is interest in this city for soccer. The atmosphere was great and the added seating was a great touch. Interest in professional soccer is at an all time high.

    • petedx says:

      How would you not know how to spell Senna? It is literally the first word in the title of the article you are commenting on. Atlanta should spend all that public money geared toward this new stadium on something more worthwhile.

      • yankiboy says:

        Little over the top with the slamming there, Petey. Yeah, the correct spelling of the highest profile player from the match can be found several places here…I get that. Point well noted.

        But the elitist overtones of your jab at the guy and the ATL are just are a bit much…

      • MLSatlanta says:

        Lol yeah I could have easily scrolled up and double checked how to spell his name but obviously it wasn’t that big of a deal to me.

        You, however, look like a complete tool by playing the role of soccer elitist / online grammar nazi. Sounds like you need to get laid buddy.

        On a side note, I met Ives at the game last night which was pretty cool. To no surprise he was a real nice guy.

  12. Tim F. says:

    Congrats Cosmos! Well deserved. Gio and the players are a class act.

  13. McQ says:

    In one season, the Cosmos earned more siverware than the Red Bulls have in the last 18!

    • Bobb says:

      NY Red Bulls won Supporters Shield just this year… I think that’s a little more prestigious than beating up on MLS rejects down in the NASL.

      • McQ says:

        They can serve some hors devors on that shiny tray during thier KC – Houston viewing party. At least they will get some use out of it.

  14. jspech says:

    Griping when a team plays by the rules and win, means you have a double bout of envy & hate.
    Te only soccer that matters in the tri-stae area is the NY Cosmos. The RED Dulls had a chance but failed.

    People are really scared of the NYCOSMOS!!! NYCFC still doesn’t have a “supporters group”.

    Go COSMOS!!! Just wish u were building stdium in Brooklyn, or LIC, Sunnyside…..Then they really would be sacred.

    “We r the CHAMPIONS”!!!!!
    I love it! I love it!

    • Pete says:

      Wow really , can you be more delusional …your team won a final in front of 7000 ppl . Meaning it’s a secondary championship . NYRB are the team of tri state , Cosmos are irrevelent. RB just won league championship aka Supporters Shield . It will take few years for cosmos to be close to our level if that even happen ,since the owner is apparently laundering his own money thru it ( he is a bankrupt since 2010 if my memory is right)
      Keep thinking that you are the team of NY , until we turn your college stadium all Red …

      • McQ says:

        Pete seems to be the delusional one here. He thinks the Red Bulls won the championship! That’s funny becasue I am pretty sure I saw an ad on NBC today for the Houston / KC game next week…???? I guess it is a Brian Ching testimonial or someithing.

        New York is Green and White!

        • LL92 says:

          NYRBs won the season and were awarded the SS. To many people that is winning the league as the team is the best in the league. To those same people the MLS Cup is a post season tournament. MLS is unique that way as in American sports where getting to the playoffs are typically the most important goal in the season and then winning the trophy equates to the championship. With soccer fans winning the league is winning the title and to be given the honor of the best. But since we are in America, those two ideologies battle each other. Which is the more important? Who was the best team last year; the Galaxy or the Earthquakes? My answer is the Earthquakes. Statistically it is the Earthquakes.

          • Zardoz says:

            NYRB named after soda pop energy drink. Checkmate.

            • LL92 says:

              dumb.

              But… still a big contention with me as a sports fan. When a team becomes a walking advertisement, there is a major problem.

              Regardless… NYRBs won the league and were statistically the best team of the 2013 season.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Y’all need to play a match like tomorrow and settle it.

      • LL92 says:

        I would love to see that. Someone mentioned earlier about a New York Pre-season tourney after NYCFC enter the area. Fabulous idea.

  15. Tony says:

    The second division game was more exciting that the eastern conference final wow! Maybe the cosmos can play a western team from mls so the fans can get a good game cause I don’t see the dynamo or skc doing much in the final against a western team

  16. ANM says:

    There’s a terrific four team pre-season tournament waiting to happen in a couple of years with NYRB, FCNY, the Cosmos, and the Long Island Rough Riders.

  17. alocksley says:

    Congratulations Cosmos. Great to see a classic brand back in play and looking for great things in the future.

  18. Smith says:

    The Cosmos should challenge the MLS champion to a match @ the MLS champ’s home stadium just for the hell of it

  19. Smurf040 says:

    This is MLS’s worst nightmare having the Cosmos win the NASL Champioship. Like Shep Messing, and even MIke Petke said, Winnig the Supporter’s Shield is great and all, But what Redbulls fan would not trade the Supporter’s shield for a championship?? I know I would! 18 years and counting! Go COSMOS!!!! In your first year back you have managed to to do what the MLS have failed to do, and that’s bringing a winning soccer team to N.Y.,, Way to go Champ!!!!

    • Travis says:

      The Cosmos winning the NASL title is far from MLS’ worst nightmare. Cosmos have made it clear that they dont want to be in MLS so why should MLS care what they are doing? From top down NASL is really not a great league to watch at all, MLS is improving for the most part.

      • Smith says:

        MLS is the much better league

        That said, there are certain aspects of NASL that are better (such as having to finish 1st to play in the final)

        I don’t see why it has to be one or the other

        And again, every Cosmos game I saw this year was more entertaining than anything Toronto or DC did (or, for that matter, the Houston-KC fiasco from Saturday)

        Clearly, its 2nd division, but, ok, so what, its still fun

        • Travis says:

          i wasnt really trying to hate on NASL, having a second league is important. its just people who seem to think theyre ready to challenge MLS annoy me a bit

  20. Supa says:

    If the NASL (2nd division) can’t compete with MLS (1st division) then shouldn’t that fact quite all of the “pro/reg” talk? I don’t think that “pro/reg” will ever happen, but I think that the people who do would be very happy that a team like The Cosmos won.

    • LL92 says:

      I am very happy that Cosmos won on their first outing. I think this publicity will bring many fans to the NASL.
      If pro-reg were to happen in the US, it will not happen for at least two more decades. Soccer specific stadiums and consistent positive television ratings. Without those, there is no chance that pro-reg will happen.