JAMAICA, N.Y. (November 13, 2016) – The New York Cosmos won their second consecutive North American Soccer League (NASL) Championship and eighth overall on Sunday night, defeating Indy Eleven 4-2 on penalties after a scoreless 120 minutes at Belson Stadium.
Right back Ryan Richter, who was part of the Ottawa Fury team that fell short against New York in The Championship Final a year ago, blasted the deciding penalty into the net for the Cosmos.
“The entire match, we were thinking that we wanted to close this year in the best possible way,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese. “I’m very proud of the players and the work they put in to win another championship.”
“It’s funny how life works,” Richter said. “I didn’t think I’d be here. But here I am, winning a championship with the New York Cosmos.”
Costa Rican forward Jairo Arrieta created one of the Cosmos’ first clear chances in the 30th minute, pouncing on a turnover and firing a half volley that skidded wide of the far post. New York continued to throw numbers forward, but the Indy defense stood strong through the halftime whistle.
In the 70th minute, Indy winger Don Smart made an incisive run toward the heart of the 18-yard box, then ran a give-and-go before clanging a shot off the crossbar. It was the best chance of the night for the visitors.
After 30 more minutes of extra time without a goal, the match would be decided in a penalty shootout. The home side was up to the task, converting all four attempts en route to lifting the Soccer Bowl Trophy for the third time in four seasons.
“Every year is a new challenge,” said Cosmos captain Carlos Mendes. “This is what we play for. It’s just as sweet as the first one. To come out on top against a very good team, it proves the quality of players we have.”
The Cosmos are the first back-to-back NASL champions of the Modern Era and just the second in the league’s history, joining the 1977-78 Cosmos.
“The guys always felt that they wanted to win a new championship,” Savarese said. “They didn’t want to defend the last one. I think that hungriness to win a new one showed, from the Fall Season all the way until now.”