The New York Cosmos had their ups and downs during the 2015 NASL season, but as the final whistle blew on the 2015 campaign, the Cosmos are NASL champions for a record seventh time. They defeated Ottawa Fury FC 3-2 in front of a modern NASL playoff record crowd, ending the careers of both Raul and Marcos Senna in style.
Ottawa got off to a very good start, pressing high up the pitch and giving the home side no time to work with the ball, not allowing Gio Savarese's side to build slowly from the back. That pressure backfired early on, however, as Danny Szetela and Gaston Cellerino simply ran through the Fury pressure, with Cellerino finding the corner of the net to put the 'Mos in front.
The early goal forced Ottawa to back off the pressure for the remainder of the first half, and New York looked by far the better side during that spell. The Cosmos dominated in terms of both possession and shots, and were extremely unlucky not to be awarded a penalty when Roversio was tackled in the box. The season's final match went to the break 1-0 in favor of New York, with Marc dos Santos needing to make some adjustments.
The Cosmos nearly put the match to bed just after the restart, as Hunter Freeman and Walter Restrepo combined to leave Cellerino with an empty net to work with. Unfortunately, Gaston put his shot over the crossbar, keeping the Fury in the contest.
New York put the ball in the net for a second time with just 25 minutes to play, but the linesman correctly called a foul on Raul, who kept the keeper from playing the ball. Seconds later, Ottawa were reduced to ten players when Mason Trafford laid a two-footed stomp on Gaston Cellerino.
At this point, the match turned crazy, with Tom Heinemann leveling the score before Trafford had probably reached the dressing room. Before the shock of the short-handed equalizer had even worn off, however, Gaston Cellerino bundled home his second of the night to put New York back in the lead.
Cellerino wasn't finished yet, however, capping off his hat trick several minutes later to put the match to bed. Heinemann added a second goal of his own in stoppage time to keep things interesting, but it was too little, too late, and New York will be more than satisfied with the 3-2 victory.
Champions. Again. Well done, Cosmos.