Cosmos Earn Comeback Victory To Seal Place In The Championship Final

Venezuelan star Juan Arango tallies goal, assist in victory over Rayo OKC
NASL Staff (@naslofficial} | Nov 5, 2016

Photo credit: New York Cosmos

The New York Cosmos overturned a first-half deficit to defeat Rayo OKC, 2-1, on Saturday night at Shuart Stadium. Juan Arango, who finished the NASL season tied for second in goals (15) and assists (7), scored the game-tying goal before picking up an assist on Yohandry Orozco’s winner.

For the second consecutive year, the Cosmos will now host The Championship Final, which will be held at Belson Stadiuim in Queens, N.Y., on Sunday, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. ET. The defeat of Rayo OKC also moved the Cosmos’ home unbeaten streak to 22 games, which includes the pair of games in The Championship, the NASL’s four-team postseason tournament.

New York will take on Indy Eleven, which defeated FC Edmonton, 1-0, in the day’s earlier semifinal at Carroll Stadium. During the year, the Cosmos and Indy were dead even with a 1-1-1 record against each other.

In the 90th minute, Arango sent in a low cross that found Orozco unmarked in the middle of the 18-yard box. The shifty midfielder then deposited a shot off the far post and into the net.

In the 73rd minute, Ayoze, who was involved in the attack all night, sent in a corner and Arango powered a header past Fernandes for the game-tying goal, which canceled out Futty Danso’s opener.

Rayo OKC’s tally was also from a header. Michel whipped in a free kick and Danso rose well to nod the ball past Maurer for the opening goal in the 37th minute.

In the 18th minute, Michel sent in a dangerous cross from the left that came off Cosmos defender Ayoze before Jimmy Maurer tipped the ball over the bar.

Jairo Arrieta flicked on a header towards goal in the 33rd minute and Rayo OKC goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes palmed the ball off the crossbar, and it nearly bounced over the line before Rayo OKC cleared the ball to safety.

Rayo OKC’s back line held firm to close out the half. Andrés Flores sent a header wide in the 44th minute. Juan Arango’s free kick a minute later was then blocked by Rayo OKC’s wall.

The Cosmos came close again in the 59th minute after good individual work from Ayoze down the left flank. He sent in a low cross that deflected off a Rayo OKC defender and fortunately bounced right to Fernandes to make the save. In the 61st minute, it was Rayo OKC’s turn in the attacking area, but Sebastian Velasquez pulled his shot wide of the far post after a pass from Michel.

Ayoze lofted in a dangerous free kick in the 63rd minute resulting in two chances for the Cosmos. Arrieta’s attempt was blocked before Ryan Richter’s sliding effort was saved by Fernandes and cleared out for a corner that Rayo OKC ultimately dealt with.

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