By DAN KARELL
Stefan Dimitrov’s first ever professional goal could be the most important goal of the New York Cosmos 2013 season.
After teammate Marcos Senna tied the match in the 52nd minute, Dimitrov received a pass from winger Diomar Diaz and curled in a beautiful shot two minutes later that completed a stunning turnaround. The second goal was enough for the Cosmos to defeat the San Antonio Scorpions on the road, 2-1, and clinch a place in NASL Soccer Bowl as the Fall Season champions.
“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 three points didn’t come easy for the Cosmos as they finished the match with ten-men and lost Senna to an ankle knock and Savarese was sent to the stands mid-way through the second half by the referee.
Just over two minutes into the match, the Cosmos found themselves on the wrong side of the scoring column. On-loan Scorpions forward Dennis Chin found teammate Tomasz Zahorski at the top of the box, and the Polish forward’s quick strike found it’s way past Cosmos goalkeeper Kyle Reynish for the opener.
Both teams created opportunities in the remainder of the first half but it wasn’t until the opening of the second half when the Cosmos would find their response. First, Savarese brought on youngster Sebastian Guenzatti for Joseph Nane in the 50th minute and two minutes later, Senna tied it up when he slammed into the roof of the net.
“One of the things we tried to change (in the second half) was to pressure them even harder in their defensive areas, we tried to be a little more offensive minded with (Guenzatti) coming in on the left side, and we were able to cause them a lot more problems,” Savarese said. “The guys responded very well and I feel in the second half we definitely dominated. I felt that we could have scored one or two more if we had a little more luck in those situations that we had.”
Then came Dimitrov’s goal, a terrific piece of skill to curl the ball around the outstretched reach of Scorpions goalkeeper Jeremy Vuolo for the sudden 2-1 lead to the Cosmos in the 54th minute.
“(Diomar and I) were on the left side of the flank, the ball just came and the defenders didn’t step up,” Dimitrov said after the match. “I just told Diomar to let me have the ball and I saw the goalkeeper a little bit to (his) right side. I curled it to the far corner and it just went in. Beautiful.”
The Scorpions were handed a lifeline midway through the second half when in the 68th minute, Senna limped off with an ankle knock and six minutes later, Cosmos substitute Dane Murphy was shown a straight red for a foul, a decision that seemed very harsh. Minutes later, Savarese was sent to the stands for his complaints against the red card, leaving the Cosmos down a man, coach, and star player in Senna.
“The reason why I got thrown out is because of the poor judgement of the referee on a red card that shouldn’t have been given,” Savarese said. “Because of a call that was completely out of place, it limits one of (our) players to play next week and it put us in a difficult situation at the end of the game.”
Despite the man advantage, the Scorpions couldn’t break down the resolute defending from the Cosmos and more often than not sent long balls into the awaiting gloves of Reynish.
The win clinches the Cosmos a trip to Atlanta for the NASL Soccer Bowl on November 9, 2013. Ironically for the Cosmos, it means that they play in Atlanta two weeks in a row, as they’re set to finish the regular season at Silverbacks Park next Saturday.
“I think it was the character of the team that was able to (help us win),” Savarese said. “These guys wanted to win the (fall) title and qualify for the Soccer Bowl.”
I think in the shorter season format, playoffs actually work better. It’s hard to build any momentum when the season only lasts 3 months. The NASL commissioner seems to be obsessed with appealing to a subset of fans who are never going to get into d2 soccer in the us anyway. It’s a silly business plan. If the playoffs are costing teams money, there might be a bigger problem at hand
You know, for all the complaining about the Cosmos, at least people are aware of the NASL now. They are a great PR Campaign for the league.
And a stronf 2nd division can only be a good thing for US Soccer.
As for the idea that the Cosmos will outspend everyone, the only big name they signed was Senna. Most of the guys thet signed were MLS castoffs (Mendes, Nane, Freeman), left for dead (Stzela), unknown (Diaz, Lopez), locals (Guenzatti) or NASL castoffs (Palo Mendes).
The fact that they can scout better than other teams should be applauded.
It’s not like they brought in Messi, for heaven’s sake.
I agree that it may not have been completely fair for the Cosmos to come in half way through the season and be eligible for the soccer bowl, however, the league agreed to that and they played by the rules in place. Other teams, like my Railhawks, had their opportunities and didn’t capitalize on them…very successful at home but unable to win on the road.
Secondly, I don’t understand why people are so opposed to the current structure. It makes the regular season games more meaningful. I’ve always disliked playoffs because it allows mid-table teams who happen to put together some good form at the right time to win a championship. I don’t think a 5th or 6th place league team should be able to be crowned “champion,” which is what playoffs allow. Seems like many American soccer fans complain about not being more like Europe, with a single league table and promotion/relegation. Then NASL implements a system close to that, and people complain.
How has this format made the season more meaningful? The problem will get even bigger when the NASL adds more teams, more meaningless games. This is not Europe, our sporting culture is way to different. In the American sporting business, for a successful league you need casual fans as well as hardcore fans. NASL is only serving hardcore fans, which many still don’t like this format, and are forgetting about the casual fans. That is not a recipe for success. Playoffs are an extension of the season, not a different thing all together. This year in MLS has been amazing, every game very meaningful, so if a 5 place team like wins MLS cup they deserve it.
soccer bowl. lol
Your name is dumb, but I agree. “Soccer Bowl” should’ve been buried with the original NASL.
As a fan of the original Cosmos, the original NASL and an attendee of many Cosmos games at Giants Stadium and Soccer Bowl ’79 and ’80, I LOVE that the D2 NASL calls their title game the Soccer Bowl. Anything that brings back memories for me is GREAT! Good naming job, NASL!
The only fans who like this split season format are from New York, and that’s because it allowed their team to start half-way thru the season. If you want to know what everyone else thinks, check out the comments below the “Cosmos Win NASL Fall Season” post on the league’s Facebook page:
The fans are NOT happy. The league has pretty much turned into a joke since they became obsessed with the Cosmos and competing with MLS (and David Downs wisely jumped ship).
if you don’t like the format, so be it but the fact is that is what the rules are/were for the season, every team had the exact same chance to win the fall championship and every team except the Cosmos got two chances to earn spot in the final.
next season it will get better.
oh thats right NASL is expanding. roll with the change or dont, i dont really care.
On the other side, we Cosmos fans could have been upset at HAVING to win the 2nd hal and not even getting a CHANCE to win the first half, as Cosmosfan said below.
haha “competing with MLS” thast funny. In order to compete one must have a product that is just as good. The NASL is nowhere near as good as MLS
Yawn. For the real 2013 championship, keep an eye on the Woosnam Cup race next weekend as Tampa and Carolina battle it out for highest full season points total:
And in the long run, you may want to “go watch another league” because this one will likely turn into a version of the Scottish Premiereship with the Cosmos as Celtic : pre-ordained to win every year.
are you going to be one of those insufferable MLS supporters shield fans?
Actually, nasl’s ridiculous idea to do away with the playoffs has made the league less interesting. They granted a “soccer bowl” slot to a team that didn’t even play a full season. That’s a joke. Say what you want about mls, at least the teams all have to play, you know, a season, before deciding who is eligible for a championship.
But doing away with the playoffs saves teams a couple bucks each year. And we better penny pinch if we’re gonna compete with MLS. We’ll need all those extra pennies!
Yeah, it’s kind of ridiculous to talk up competing with MLS when you can’t even afford playoffs.
The Cosmos did play a full season weirdo. There are 2 full seasons in NASL in 2013…Cosmos won the full Fall season. Atlanta won the full Spring season. Them are the facts
So, when the win the Soccer Bowl they will be the champion of two seasons? Think before you type. You’re really reaching here…
This I agree with, as NASL expands I supect this will happen.
Good job cosmos, a single table is not easyto win, especially at the second division since every team has the same skills and players really suck. Thats why promoted teams always get relegated in other leagues. Playing second division like in mexico or argentina, or even spain is hell to scape.
At the end cosmos r setting the example for nasl teams, in how to treat the league.
But seriously, is nasl going to keep the single table with 18 or 20 teams and the long distance travel.
I would love mls to have single table in each conference, then give the winner a direct semifinal spot for mls cup or some sort of special prize.
Therefore, if mls and nasl have west and east conferences, a unique promotion n relegation system can be put in place. For example, mls teams won’t go down for the first years, only nasl teams until mls owners learn and sign a deal.
Imagine, every year, the nasl team in mls in each conference must play at the end of the season the top 2 nasl teams to stay in mls.
playoffs work better. Single table works in europe because champions league is a bigger deal. We dont have that luxury because of the SH!T teams and areas around the US.
If UEFA champions ever let MLS have two guest spots it would work. But that probably will never happen
playoffs work better for what? Figuring out who the best team is? NOPE. A single table champ decides that.
All playoffs do is provide end of season excitement for fans that are in to playoffs. And judging by the TV ratings there aren’t many American soccer fans that are into it.
First mistake was saying that a single table is the best way to decide a season Champion. A single table shows who has the most money, not the best team. Playoffs are an extension of the season, not a different tournament all together. Your second mistake was mentioning TV ratings, which is not inductive of the league. MLS suffers from not time slots & a non flexible schedule. Not to mention MLS not being in the southeast, Which it seems MLS is now expanding to. TV rating & scheduling are always the last things to get on track in a growing league.
of the top 4 teams (before the sunday games), Sporting, Timbers, Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake, only 1 of those teams are heavy spenders. If Chicago wins today we’d only be 4 points away from the Red Bulls. Spending big money in this league does not guarantee a SS. An overall solid team wins the SS.
Neither system is perfect. An end-of-the-year playoff shows what team, after making a certain cut during the regular season, is the best team at that time against the others. A lower qualified team can get hot and win it all or the generally best team against other competition could meet the one team that can best it.
A single table shows what team was better over the long run based on the situation at that time. Factors (weather, injuries, suspensions, signings) can influence who is better that particular game. Depth and ability to acquire new talent to address shortcomings can influence a team’s season.
Neither is perfect and the circumstances of who would win a head-to-head match can change from day-to-day. Pick a system and decide that’s how you pick the “winner.”
Lol! MLS in UEFA Champions League? Are you on crack? They would get slaughtered and NEVER make it out of the group stage…
Also, if CCL sucks because of SH!T treams we have to play against, how come Mexican clubs always win it? Maybe we should focus on beating them first, ya think?
Compare the salary caps, If MLS was alotted 5 DP slots, it’s a different conversation
MLS is still growing. Besides from your name, you re either mexican or a fish and I hope you realize nobody here gets excited to watch a mexican team play. We dont even know the mexican players and dont care.
Funny how the european owners are investing in MLS but not in SH1T liga mx,,, maybe you can change you re league name again next year !
see, but you can, and whoa, we actually do, have it both ways. pay attention to the competition you value most: MLS Cup? CCL? US Cup? SS? alll trophies for the trophy case. thats sort of the point of the whole nonense to begin with.
IF? Ummmm……thats never going to happen.