New York Cosmos Capture 2015 NASL Spring Season Championship

Cosmos clinch title with 3-3 draw against Jacksonville
NASL Staff | Jun 13, 2015

The New York Cosmos are back on top of the North American Soccer League, but Jacksonville Armada FC did not make it easy -- not by a long shot.

An own goal created by a long-distance strike from Raúl and an impressive individual effort by Hagop Chirishian gave the unbeaten Cosmos (5-5-0, 20 points) a 2-0 first-half lead against Armada FC on Saturday night before 7,353 fans at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. Visiting Jacksonville (3-2-5, 12 points) closed out its first season in the league with a second-half rally to tie the match on two goals by Pascal Millien.

Forward Lucky Mkosana then scored what looked to be the winner in the 86th minute for the Cosmos, but Jacksonville refused to fold. In the 89th minute, Joseph Toby one-timed a corner kick to tie the match, but that is the way it ended.

The single point in the 3-3 draw enabled the Cosmos to win the Spring Season Championship and ensure themselves a home game in the league’s playoff semifinals in November. The Cosmos needed only a draw against Jacksonville to clinch the title, regardless of the result between the second-place Tampa Bay Rowdies and Atlanta Silverbacks.

The Cosmos quickly jumped in front, benefitting from an own goal in the sixth minute on a play keenly initiated by the club’s Spanish star Raul. After chesting a ball to his left foot about 30 yards from goal, Raúl sent a looping shot that struck the Jacksonville crossbar, bounced down and off the leg of goalkeeper Miguel Gallardo and into the net.

Chirishian, who was playing in his first league match of 2015, calmly settled a cross from Danny Szetela and skipped around Gallardo before calmly tucking the ball into the back of the net.

Jacksonville made it interesting when it cut the Cosmos’ lead in half in the 59th minute. Millien and Jemal Johnson worked a neat give-and-go in the Cosmos area that resulted in Millien, a Haiti international, beating goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer for his third goal of the season. Millien did it again in the 73rd minute when he took the ball from Szetela and slotted a left-footed shot past Maurer to tie the match.

The Rowdies ended up doing their part, defeating the visiting Atlanta Silverbacks, 3-0, but ultimately fell a point short of their long-time rivals, the Cosmos. 

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