Four teams came into the NASL playoffs on Sunday night, knowing victories in their respective semifinal matches would book them a spot in the Championship Final next weekend.
In one matchup, the New York Cosmos faced the No. 1 seed, Miami FC, looking to book their third consecutive appearance in the final. 12 points separated the two sides in the Fall Season standings, but the playoffs brought a bit of hope for both sides. In the other matchup, the second-seeded San Francisco Delta and third-seeded North Carolina FC squared off at Kezar Stadium.
Here’s a closer look at all of Sunday’s NASL Playoff action:
Miami FC 0 (5) – New York Cosmos 0 (6) (Cosmos advance via penalty kick shootout)
The New York Cosmos ousted Miami FC on Sunday, thanks to a 6-5 penalty shootout win.
Jimmy Maurer made a pair of saves in the shootout, and five in total, to help his side to a place in the finals. Neither side could find the back of the net after 120 minutes, as Eugene Starikov scored the winning penalty for the visitors. Miami FC keeper Daniel Vega kept the hosts alive, saving Juan Guerra’s foolish chipped attempt in the fifth round.
However, Miami FC failed to advance as Mason Trafford was kept out by a diving Maurer in the seventh round. The back-to-back champions now look to claim their third straight NASL Championship title.
San Francisco Deltas 1 – North Carolina FC 0
The San Francisco Deltas booked their first-ever trip to the NASL Championship, defeating North Carolina FC, 1-0, at home.
Tyler Gibson played the hero for the hosts, scoring the winner in the 40th-minute. The midfielder rifled home from outside of the box, as his right-footed effort left North Carolina keeper Macklin Robinson stunned on his goal-line. It was Gibson’s first goal of the season. Robinson made two saves in the loss as his side could not muster up a single shot on goal, out of their seven in total.
The NASL Championship Final is set for Sunday, Nov. 12 as the Deltas will host the Cosmos at Kezar Stadium with kickoff slated for 8 p.m. EST.