Raúl, Marcos Senna, And The Cosmos Are Right Where They Want To Be

New York advanced to The Championship Final after defeating the Fort Lauderdale Strikers
Jack Bell (@JackBell} | Nov 7, 2015

The quality shined through on a cloudy and gray afternoon in Coney Island.

The New York Cosmos’ No. 7 scored the decisive goal on the seventh day of November, which will enable the club to play for an unprecedented seventh NASL Soccer Bowl Trophy in The Championship Final on Sunday, November 15, at 5 p.m. ET, after Saturday afternoon’s 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the visiting Fort Lauderdale Strikers at MCU Park.

“Raúl was fantastic,” Senna said. “Now, we play one more time. This is a great opportunity with the final in our house.”

The final will be at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. because Raúl scored the game-winning goal after Senna had created the game-tying goal late in the first half.

Saturday’s match had been billed as possibly the final professional game for the two Spanish stars who earlier this season announced their would retire after the completion of the NASL season. Now it’s one more week, one more game, and hopefully for them, one more piece of silverware.

“With the way Senna was playing it felt like the first year we got to play together in 2013,” Cosmos midfielder Danny Szetela said. “This could have been his last game, but the way he was running around it looked like he was 20 years younger.”

The Cosmos fell behind in the game’s 16th minute when a quick Strikers counterattack led to PC receiving a pass along on the right flank, just outside the penalty area. His hard, low shot beat goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer to his right.

With eight minutes to play in the first half, the Cosmos set up a free kick about 35 yards from the goal on the left. Senna stepped up and sent his shot on goal where goalkeeper David Meves punched the ball, but not clear. If bounded off the shin of Gastón Cellerino and into the net.

The Cosmos dominated the second half from the kickoff and Raúl set the tone with his impressive control. He oozed experience and savvy, which rubbed off on his teammates.

“When you have guys like Raúl and Senna on the field, you pick up from them their composure,” Szetela said. “You always feel confident playing the game. It’s great to be back in the final. It was our goal from the beginning of the year – to win. Now we’re one game away.”

The match next Sunday, against the winner of the Ottawa-Minnesota semifinal, will definitely, positively, without a doubt be the final one for the two Spanish stars.

“Raúl is always in the right place and has always been a player who brings some genius to the game,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He was breaking down the defense, creating chances, and the last few minutes the way he was holding the ball was just amazing.

“Next is a final and finals are finals. That is the game that will matter. We deserve to be in the final. This was a tough game, like every game in the NASL.”

But the final, with the Soccer Bowl Trophy going to the winner, will be a game like none other because it will usher Raúl and Senna to retirement. There is no way that has begun to sink in yet.

“I have mixed feelings,” Senna said. “I’m happy to go back to the championship game, but sad that I no longer will get to play with Raúl and my other teammates. I hope we can send him out on top. For me, being able to play to 39 is a great feeling. With Raúl, it has been another great feeling.”

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