Thursday, November 19, 2015

Ottawa Fury 2 at New York Cosmos 3 (NASL Championship) - November 15, 2015

The busy weekend I discussed in my previous post continued on Sunday. Madison Square Garden had a doubleheader with the Knicks hosting the Pelicans at noon and the Leafs taking on the Rangers at 7 p.m.. That was the original plan for Sharpy and me, but the Ottawa Fury advanced to the NASL final against the New York Cosmos with that game slated for 5 p.m. out on Long Island. I decided to see that to add to my championships witnessed total, while Sharpy remained in Manhattan for the Leafs, checking out a play in between the two games, a unique tripleheader.

I took Long Island Railroad from Penn Station out to Mineola ($8.25 for an off-peak fare), from where the Cosmos run a free shuttle bus to the stadium, arriving about an hour before kickoff. The trophy was on display outside, guarded by a Nassau County trooper and a Mountie, a nice touch.

The stadium was still quite empty then, as most fans were in the plaza enjoying the pregame activities. You can see the premium seats in the middle of the shot below; they were $35 for this game, while the bench seats along the side were $25 and end zone seats were $15. These are the same prices as the regular season, which I suppose was a good call as the game did not sell out.

There's no need to talk further about Shuart Stadium as I reviewed it for Stadium Journey and it hasn't changed in the last year or so.

The game was quite entertaining, particularly in the second half. New York scored the only goal of the first half when Gaston Cellerino (#8 in white above) outworked two Fury defenders and pushed the ball past Romuald Peiser  in the 8th minute. Midway through the second half, Ottawa's Mason Trafford stomped on Sebastián Guenzatti and was given a deserved red card. The Fury did not let that stop them though, as just two minutes later, Tom Heinemann (#9 in black above) took a perfect through pass from Andrew Wiedeman and had no trouble beating Jimmy Maurer to knot the game at 1. But the Cosmos got that back just two minutes later when Cellerino knocked the ball home after the Fury defense could not handle a cross at the goal line. In the 85th minute, Spainsh legend Raul, playing in his final professional game, sent Cellerino in alone and Peiser had no chance as Cellerino completed the hat trick. Heinemann added another in stoppage time to make things close, but it was too little, too late, as the Cosmos won their second title in three years, 3-2. That's the celebration below. I didn't hang around for the trophy presentation.


The game was played on an international weekend, so Ottawa did not have Canadian national Julian de Guzman. You have to wonder why the league would allow that to happen. Generally it is only the top leagues that take breaks when there are international games scheduled (MLS took the weekend off in the middle of their playoffs), as it is assumed that most international players are in those leagues, but I think the NASL should consider doing the same for a game of this significance.

The other championships I have witnessed: 1990 Memorial Cup, 1995 Stanley Cup, 1997 Japan Series, 2001 World Series, 2002 World Cup, 2012 NBA title, and the 2013 Super Bowl. The 2015 Grey Cup is next.



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