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Senna the Difference for Cosmos in Final

Photo Credit: Joe Foughty/

You couldn’t have written a better ending than a Marcos Senna golazo in the 50th minute as the New York Cosmos defeated the Atlanta Silverbacks 1-0 in the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl.

It was certainly fitting, considering the Cosmos tradition of employing international superstars.  No, Senna is not Pelé or even Beckenbauer, but it can be argued that the former Spanish international and Villarreal CF legend is the top player in America outside of MLS.

“It’s an exciting day for sure, the New York Cosmos are back,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese. “I’m very proud of the players because they accomplished great things. Tonight, winning a championship and bringing a championship back to New York is a proud moment for us.”

The Silverbacks were a constant threat in the first half, having a strong home crowd to give their side loads of support.  The Cosmos supporters also traveled in number, coming down to Atlanta on several coaches.  The away supporters employed smoke, flares, drums, streamers, and even fireworks to show they cared about their beloved Cosmos, providing them with a clear mental boost.

The first half was physical, at times chippy, but there was nothing on the scoreboard at the half.  The Cosmos had the better 2nd half, starting with the quick goal from Senna that was set up by the continued brilliance of Ayoze.

The crowd never let up even though the home fans had to know going a goal down to the Cosmos was not a good thing.  The Silverbacks continued to battle against a very good New York team.

Overall it was a night of great goalkeeping and one great goal. Atlanta keeper Joe Nasco was simply electric, making one great save after another.  He kept his team in the match until the final whistle.

His counterpart, 2013 NASL Golden Glove winner Kyle Reynish, got the job done when called upon, but he was far less active thanks to a staunch defense led by former Crew and Red Bull defender Carlos Mendes.

“We didn’t really know each other, and then coming together and winning a championship, that’s what it’s all about,” said Mendes. “For us, this is what you play for. Hopefully we’ll write a new future now and continue to win championships.”

The game proved to be a showcase for the league as a whole and was truly a marketing dream come true.  The league office had to be drooling over having a Cosmos team in the final and the match did set a new attendance record for the NASL Soccer Bowl since the NASL returned in 2011.  Keep in mind the Cosmos could very well be even more dominant next season when they actually play a full season.

Photo Credit: Joe Foughty/

The storyline was great for writers and fans alike.  One of the world’s most renowned brands taking on the Atlanta Silverbacks, a team full of interesting back stories.  Silverbacks Technical Director Eric Wynalda often talked of players discovered parking cars at a hotel, driving limousines, or playing shoeless at a local park.  Simply put, the Silverbacks had a mountain to climb, playing the giant role of the underdog.

Yes, many talked about a David and Goliath theme for the game, but that tends to be overplayed and gets old really quick. Especially, when Goliath is a very likeable and friendly character like the players of the Cosmos.

The happiest moment of the match was the raising of the trophy for the Cosmos, a team that almost disappeared from soccer entirely.  One man, former owner Peppe Pinton, kept the team and the dream alive, waiting for a day and a game like this.

“I have accomplished what I set forth to do a quarter century ago, to put the Cosmos back on the playing field,” Pinton concluded. “The only sadness is that Giorgio (Chinaglia) is not here to witness it.”

The legendary Lazio striker would have been very proud to see this indeed.  It was a special game on a special night, an occasion that was so many years in the making.

Match Photos

Former NYAC Star Making Headlines with the Cosmos

Dane Murphy is the consummate professional, a player that has seen it all both here and abroad.  He has a knack for playing with the most prestigious brands, having spent time at the legendary New York Athletic Club before a globetrotting career finally landed him with the New York Cosmos.

His time at NYAC was a defining moment, playing for an organization that has supported and produced Olympic athletes for over a hundred years.  Since 1896, NYAC athletes have accumulated 230 Olympic medals, 119 of which have been gold.

“For me, it was good.  It was special being part of their club,” Murphy remarked. “They taught me to represent the club as a professional. It was a very positive experience.”

Photo Courtesy of the New York Cosmos

He has literally done it all since then, having played in MLS and Germany before returning home to the New York and the NASL. And yes, he did get to play against Manchester United at Old Trafford as part of the Paul Scholes testimonial match.

This weekend’s Soccer Bowl still has to rank among the bigger moments of his career, playing for a resurrected Cosmos team that has so much history and tradition.

“I don’t think I appreciate it enough.  I don’t think you can really do it justice; it’s such a storied franchise. You just have to be a positive professional and go out and win games.  That’s what the team and the fans deserve.”

The Cosmos hope to add some more hardware to their expansive trophy case this weekend with a win against the Atlanta Silverbacks.  Murphy will certainly play a role in a team full of stars.  There is no Pelé, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia, or even Messing, but it is still a team of big names.

Take Marco Senna, the former Spanish international and Villarreal star, who was just announced as a member of the North American Soccer League 2013 Best XI.  Or Carlos Mendes,  a veteran of seven MLS seasons and 2006 Red Bulls Defender of the Year.

It’s still the Cosmos and Murphy is surrounded by greatness.  The former NPSL star has a lot to live up to, whether it be the legends of yesteryear or the team’s current pros. It is a beautiful game, one that is even better with Murphy and the Cosmos.

Cosmos Advance to Soccer Bowl

With two second-half goals in two minutes Saturday night, the New York Cosmos earned the 2013 NASL Fall Season Championship and secured their spot in the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl. After a San Antonio score early in the match and an evenly played first half, Marcos Senna tied the game in the 52nd minute and Stefan Dimitrov gave the Cosmos the lead in the 54th.

The Cosmos now move on to face the host Atlanta Silverbacks on Saturday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m. a week after each team’s regular season finale against each other in Atlanta.

The Cosmos fell behind after only three minutes to a goal by Scorpions Polish striker Tomasz Zahorski, but were a constant threat and the game swung in their favor in the space of three second half minutes. Former Spanish international Marcos Senna pounced to equalize in the 52nd minute, then Bulgarian striker Stefan Dimitrov gave his side the lead two minutes later with his first goal of the season. Despite an injury to Senna and having a man sent off, New York held on to win 2-1.

“All the guys knew that we needed three points to go to the Soccer Bowl and its not easy to do when you’re a goal down, but we came back after halftime ready to do the job,” Cosmos assistant coach Carlos Llamosa said. “In the second half we tried to be more aggressive and fortunately for us we were able to capitalize.”

The Cosmos won five Soccer Bowl titles as members of the original North American Soccer League, with their last triumph coming in 1982 when a goal by Giorgio Chinaglia defeated the Seattle Sounders 1-0 in San Diego. The legendary club returned to NASL action on August 3 and have won eight games, drawn four and lost only one to qualify for NASL Soccer Bowl 2013.

Victory means New York has opened an eight-point lead at the top of the NASL standings and cannot be caught by their nearest challenger, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, who can only generate a maximum of six points from their last two games.

The NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 clash between the Silverbacks and Cosmos will air live on ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9.

SNY and Cosmos Enter into Programming Agreement

The New York Cosmos announced today that ONE World Sports (OWS), their television broadcast and national network partner has entered into a distribution agreement with SNY – the official TV home of the New York Mets and Jets.  SNY – which reaches more than 13 million homes – will air all seven New York Cosmos home games for the 2013 North American Soccer League (NASL) Fall season.  On Saturday, August 3rd at 7:00pm, the Cosmos will kick off their season opener on SNY against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers at Hofstra University’s James M. Shuart Stadium.  The Cosmos on-air team will feature play-by-play announcer JP Dellacamera and Janusz Michallik as the color analyst.

SNY will also showcase five episodes of “Cosmos Classics,” the newly-minted series that looks back at some of the most memorable games in club history.  “Cosmos Classics” will make its debut August 11th at 9:00pm on SNY and feature the July 16, 1976 match against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The second installment of “Cosmos Classics” will air on Thursday, August 18th and feature the Barcelona-Cosmos match from May 28, 1984. The other “Cosmos Classics” will be announced at a later date.

“This is another important step in the reboot of our club,” Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said. “ONE World Sports has proven to be a great partner thus far and we know their production will be of the highest level. Now, adding SNY to our broadcast family helps us attain one of our main goals, which is reaching more of our fans in the tri-state area.”

“The Cosmos have a rich and colorful history among New York area sports fans,” said Gary Morgenstern, Senior Vice President of Programming for SNY.  “We are excited to be partnering with the club during the rebirth of the franchise, and look forward to providing both new and long-time fans with a comprehensive package of games from the current season, as well as classic games from the 1970’s and 80’s.”

ONE World Sports will produce all of the games and the Cosmos Classics original series under the terms of the agreement.  The club remains in discussion with various potential broadcast partners, including OWS, for distribution of its road games.

Szetela Signs with the Cosmos

Photo Credit: Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

The New York Cosmos announced today that former U.S. Men’s national team midfielder Danny Szetela has signed with the club.

“This is a great opportunity to join such a historic club and get back in the game,” Szetela said. “I’ve been hungry for the game and I love being back out there everyday. The Cosmos are giving me a chance and I’m grateful to the coaching staff for that. I want to help on the field in any way I can.”

Szetela, 26, turned professional in 2004 when signed with the Columbus Crew of Major League Soccer at the age of 16. He made 34 appearances for the Crew before moving abroad to play with Racing de Santander of Spain’s La Liga and Brescia Calcio of Serie B (where he made 26 appearances). After a stint at DC United, Szetela stepped away from soccer in 2011 due to injuries.

“Danny worked very hard in training this whole month and has shown us he is dedicated to getting back on the field,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He still has lots of skill that can benefit the club and his determination is apparent in every training session.”

The 5’11” midfielder from Passaic, NJ had a successful career with U.S. national teams at every level. He was a member of USSF’s Bradenton Academy and represented the United States at the 2003 Under-17 World Cup. In 2007, Szetela was a key figure on the U.S. U-20 national team that made it to the quarterfinals of the FIFA U-20 World Cup, alongside future national team players such as Michael Bradley, Jozy Altidore and Robbie Rogers. Also in 2007, he earned the first of his three caps for the full U.S. men’s national team. He also played for the United States at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The Cosmos also agreed to terms with 24-year-old midfielder Hagop Chirishian, increasing the roster to 22 players under contract. Chirishian spent his last two seasons playing for USL sides Wilmington Hammerheads and Ventura County Fusion.