For the second time in three years the New York Cosmos finished the NASL season as champions.
In front of a league modern-day postseason record crowd of 10,166 at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, the Cosmos defeated Ottawa Fury FC 3-2. With much of the focus on Marcos Senna and Raul playing the final match of their respective legendary careers it was Gaston Cellerino who would steal the show.
Opening the scoring in the 8th minute with a neat flick through two Ottawa defenders, Cellerino would also find the back of the Fury net in the 72nd minute and 85th minute to secure the victory. His second goal gave New York a 2-1 lead and the hat trick tally was key as it put the Cosmos up 3-1.
The big moment in the match came in the 68th minute when Mason Trafford received a straight red card for his two-footed stomp on Sebastian Guenzatti.
Despite being down a man, Ottawa’s Tom Heinemann tied the game at 1 in the 70th minute and then cut the lead to 1 with his second goal in the 90th minute. But it proved to be too little, too late for the Fury.
For New York, the win marked the club’s second NASL title in three years since it’s so-called reboot. The Cosmos in 2013 defeated Atlanta Silverbacks 1-0 in Atlanta on a goal from Senna.
As for Raul and Senna, both men were happy to go out as champions.
“I’m very happy. It was my last game in my career,” Raul said. “I’m very proud for everything I did and thank you to the club, my teammates and the fans for this amazing year. For me now, I start a new life with another project. I’m happy, but I’m also very sad.”
For Senna, it is a second NASL title in three years with the Cosmos since the club’s reboot.
“To win next to Raul was an ideal situation. I’m thankful for him being here throughout the year as he made the difference many times and scored many goals,” Senna said. “In addition, today he didn’t get the goal, but he got the assist. He’s a player that is a game-changer.”