By MIKE GRAMAJO
Second half goals from Marcos Senna and Stefan Dimitrov were all the New York Cosmos needed to punch their Soccer Bowl ticket, defeating the San Antonio Scorpions, 2-1, at Toyota Field in front of an announced crowd of 7,702 fans.
“I’m just very proud of the guys and excited for them,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese told reporters after the match. “They deserve it. You were there every single day you see them working and they’ve done very well. For a team that was built together very quick, they have been able to do amazing things.”
The Scorpions managed to score first as Dennis Chin set up Tomasz Zahorski’s eighth goal of the season when his shot from outside the box beat Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish in the second minute of play. The second half showcased a different Cosmos side however, a Senna’s rocket shot outside the box leveled the match in the 51st minute.
Dimitrov’s game winner two minutes later gave Savarese’s men their Soccer Bowl berth when his placed shot curled into the right corner, beating Scorpions goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo.
With the victory, the Cosmos meet the Atlanta Silverbacks next week at Atlanta Silverbacks Park in the final game of the Fall season, which will be a prelude to the Soccer Bowl when both sides meet again on November 9.
Here’s a closer look at last weekend’s NASL action:
RAILHAWKS REMAIN UNBEATEN AT HOME, ROUTE SILVERBACKS
The Carolina RailHawks thrashed the Atlanta Silverbacks, 4-0, at WakeMed Soccer Park to keep them unbeaten at home in 2013.
“It was great to watch and it could have been seven or eight (goals) as we were able to put in our chances tonight,” RailHawks head coach Colin Clarke told NASL.com. “It was fun to watch. We got a lot of positives from this match.”
Henry Kalungi and Austin da Luz provided the RailHawks the first two goals in the first half. However, it was forward Nicholas Addlery that tripled the lead in 66th minute after a breaking away from the Silverbacks backline put the Jamaican in a one on one scenario as he slotted the ball past the goalkeeper.
Brian Shriver put the game to bed before the final whistle when he scored a penalty kick that furthered him in the Golden Boot race with 13 goals.
EDDIES DENY ROWDIES TO RALLY
The Tampa Bay Rowdies suffered a cold defeat, falling 2-1, against FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium,
“Our attitude to the work defensively was terrific and we created a number of chances and hit the post on a couple of occasions,” Eddies coach Colin Miller told NASL.com. “I’m delighted for the fans, who turned up today, because it was a fantastic performance.”
The Eddies opened up the scoring in the 34th minute when Daryl Fordyce slotted in a rebound that slipped through goalkeeper Diego Restrepo’s legs. Two minutes later, Edmonton doubled the lead when Robert Garrett’s shot hit the bottom right side of the net.
The Rowdies seemed to inspire a second-half rally when Luke Mulholland’s free kick in the early stages of the second half reduced the deficit, but it was the Eddies that were able to hold off the St. Petersburg side and slide away with the victory.
MINNESOTA END HOME SEASON ON A HIGH, CAMPOS BAGS BRACE
Despite both sides already being knocked out of the Soccer Bowl race, Pablo Campos’ two goals and assist paved the way for Minnesota United FC as they walked away with 3-1 victory over the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at the National Sports Center Stadium.
“We’re really building something special here and I think tonight was important for that,” Minnesota coach Manny Lagos told NASL.com. “I’m proud of the guys tonight. It is so important for us to let our fans know that there are some great things about this club and that soccer is going to be here in Minnesota for many years to come.”
Campos opened up the scoreboard within the first 10 minutes of the game, but Strikers midfielder Carlos Salazar leveled the match in the 28th minute after capitalizing on a rebound from an Ivan Guerrero cross.
During the first-half stoppage time, Campos assisted Aaron Pitchkolan for the 2-1 lead before bagging his brace in the 74th minute when he was able to cut through the Strikers defense and slide the ball to left corner.
1. New York Cosmos – 28 points
2. Tampa Bay Rowdies – 20 points
3. Carolina RailHawks – 20 points
4. Minnesota United FC – 17 points
5. Ft. Lauderdale Strikers – 17 points
6. Atlanta Silverbacks – 16 points
7. FC Edmonton – 15 points
8. San Antonio Scorpions – 10 points
What did you think of Week 13? Excited to see the Cosmos in the Soccer Bowl? Do you think the Rowdies can come back stronger next year? Will the Strikers rebound from their loss? Can the Scorpions ever get back into top form?
Share your thoughts below.