It all came down to this. The final game of the NASL season featured the San Francisco Deltas and the New York Cosmos. Both walked in with hopes of lifting the Soccer Bowl, but one team prevailed.
An early penalty from Tom Heinemann followed by a stoppage time breakthrough from Devon Sandoval was enough to propel the Deltas to win the 2017 NASL Soccer Bowl. Here’s the recap.
Cosmos Starting XI
#THECHAMPIONSHIP STARTING XI— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) November 13, 2017
THE NEW YORK COSMOS.
Emmanuel Ledesma would start off the action in the NASL Final by swinging in a cross that had to be punched away by Romuald Peiser. Another attempt from Ledesma just moments after would eventually get turned away again by Peiser.
Peiser would find himself involved in a mass amount of events early on. He collided with a Cosmos attacker which resulted in a huge scrum. The officials broke it up, and play then resumed.
In the 18th minute, Jimmy Maurer would take down Deltas’ winger Jackson in the box which enticed the official to award San Fran with a penalty. Heinemann would then step up to the spot and smash the first goal for the Deltas to Maurer’s right.
.@sfdeltas striker @TommyHeinemann is first on the scoresheet in #TheChampionshipFinal#SFDvNYC | 1-0 pic.twitter.com/Qo7iZP4USY— NASL (@naslofficial) November 13, 2017
The next several moments of play involved altercations between the two teams which resulted in cards. Heinemann and Tyler Gibson were shown the yellow, while Eugene Starikov and Nana Attakora got into a debate about a collision between the two earlier.
San Francisco put the Cosmos under an enormous amount of pressure to start the second half. Jackson found Heinemann at the far post in the 58th minute, but his header went just wide. Not even a minute later, Michael Stephens sent a low cross towards Maurer that got deflected by an active Heinemann. Maurer again came up big to deny the Deltas’ striker.
Ledesma would get his first crack at the goal as he worked his way into the box and took a powerful shot on Peiser. Unfortunately, the Golden Ball candidate had his shot turned away.
The Deltas would then try to sit back and defend their lead. New York gained a lot of chances in the ensuing minutes, as Lucky Mkosana put a move in the box and sent a cross towards Starikov that got headed wide. Juan Guerra sent in another long cross that Starikov got some gel on, but Peiser stood strong to tip it away.
With under ten minutes to go, Ledesma sent in another cross that Guerra got a piece of but could not keep the ball down.
.@JuanGuerra16 nearly nods home Ledesma's corner kick. @nycosmos knocking with under 10 minutes left.#SFDvNYC | 1-0 pic.twitter.com/sGpjm22Tid— NASL (@naslofficial) November 13, 2017
Five minutes for stoppage time only gave the Deltas the dagger goal. The ball worked its way towards Sandoval’s feet while Maurer was exposed, leading the Deltas’ number 9 to tap it into the yawning net.
Now that's how you finish the season! @Big_dev49 taps it in as the @sfdeltas knock off the defending champs, 2-0! #TheChampionshipFinal pic.twitter.com/BfsO92pCs5— NASL (@naslofficial) November 13, 2017
Final: Deltas 2-0 Cosmos
Well, that’s it. The Cosmos couldn’t make it three in a row, but they definitely made me proud this season.
There are so many moments from the season that we as fans should embrace. Ledesma’s clutch performance against Puerto Rico FC to get the Cosmos in the playoffs, along with the game-tying efforts from New York against the Armada in the dying minutes. Those are just to name a few.
I would love to say that we should look forward to next season, but we can’t be so sure there will be a next season. Stay optimistic, and let’s all hope for the best. Stay tuned, and go Cosmos!