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NORTH AMERICAN SOCCER LEAGUE

November 13, 2016
CHAMPS AGAIN
Cosmos win third NASL title


QUEENS, New York –The New York Cosmos converted on four penalty kicks in the shootout to defeat Indy Eleven and capture the North American Soccer League Championship for the third time in four years, and second straight.

Indy scored on two of the penalty kicks after the two teams had battled to a scoreless draw in front of 2,150 at Belson Stadium on the campus of St. John's University.

Indy went first in the shootout and Nicki Paterson, the Eleven’s final substitute in the game, beat Cosmos goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer with a shot inside the far post. Arrieta stepped up for the Cosmos and smacked his shot off the far post and in.

Indy's Eamon Zayed saw his shot hit the far post, skitter along the goal line and out. Adam Moffat took the second kick for the Cosmos and put it right down the middle as Jon Busch dove the other way, giving New York a 2-1 advantage.

In a departure from usual practices, Indy coach Tim Hankinson had Busch take the third kick, which he put high and wide. Ayoze gave the Cosmos a 3-1 lead, curing a patented left-footed shot past Busch.

Nemania Vukovic kept Indy alive by planting a hard shot in the near, upper corner. Ryan Richter iced the game and the championship for New York, hitting a shot low and inside the far post to give the Cosmos the victory.

The title was the eight all-time for the Cosmos, who won the NASL Championship five times between 1972 and 1982 in their original incarnation. Indy was playing in their first ever championship game.

Indy Eleven had the first dangerous shot on goal 11 minutes into the game. Midfielder Don Smart centered from the right flank to Zayed, who settled the ball and turned for a shot that was saved by Maurer. The Eleven were on the attack again three minutes later. Left-side defender Nemanja Vukovic hit a high diagonal ball that Smart smacked on the volley off the goalpost and out for a goal kick.

New York answered back with its best chance in the 18th minute. Juan Arango, the winner of the league’s Golden Ball as most valuable player, found a streaking Yohandry Orozco at the top of the Indy penalty area. But he got under his left-footed shot, which sailed high and wide. In the 29th minute, Cosmos defender Ayoze dropped a long lead pass over the Indy defense that Arango was able to run on to for a shot Busch jumped to swat away.

In the 54th minute, a shot by New York midfielder Ruben Bover, with his second-favorite right foot, tested Busch from about 20 yards out. The Indy goalkeeper was up to the task, first knocking the ball down in front of him, then smothering it to prevent Arrieta from pouncing.

Indy had a golden opportunity to take the lead in the 70th. Sinisa Ubiparipovic controlled the ball at the top of the Cosmos penalty area and touched a pass to Smart. Smart ran onto the ball and curved an open, left-footed shot that had Maurer beaten, but rebounded off the angle where the crossbar meets the goalpost.

The Cosmos came close four minutes later. Richter sent a curving cross into the Indy penalty area that Arrieta met with his head, but his effort skittered wide of the near post for a goal kick. Looking for a spark up front, Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese inserted David Diosa as a replacement for Orozco.

With a little less than 10 minutes left in regulation time, Richter on the right again sent a dangerous ball into the Indy penalty area. Four players, two from each team plus goalkeeper Busch, converged in a jumble as the ball bounced and skipped wide without being touched by anyone.

At the start of second-half added time, an Ubiparipovic free kick from deep on the left flank found the head of Zayed. His effort was deflected over the end line for a corner. Two minutes later, Arrieta crossed from the left to Diosa in the center of the penalty area. His first touch escaped him, but Diosa stayed with the play, turned and hit a right-footed shot that just skipped wide of the near post.

 
 
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