After a pair of thrilling semifinal clashes, the San Francisco Deltas and the New York Cosmos are the last ones standing. The two clubs will meet on Sunday night to battle for the North American League (NASL) title at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco.
Kickoff for The Championship Final is slated for 8 p.m. ET, and the game will air live on beIN SPORTS USA (English), beIN SPORTS en EspaÃ±ol (Spanish), and beIN SPORTS CONNECT (Digital). Coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on beIN SPORTS USA with a 30-minute pregame show hosted by Kay Murray, Gary Bailey, and Thomas Rongen.
The Championship, the league’s four-team postseason tournament, got underway last Sunday. The Deltas moved past North Carolina FC thanks to Tyler Gibson’s long-distance strike late in the first half. Earlier that evening, the Cosmos and Miami FC needed penalty kicks to resolve their semifinal matchup. New York goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer came up with a pair of big saves before Eugene Starikov converted the game-winning spot kick to send his club through to the Final for the fourth time in five years. Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese has guided the club to each of its postseason appearances.
The Cosmos enter Sunday’s title game as the defending champions and the winners of three of the last four NASL titles. New York’s roster is packed with postseason experience, with 14 of its players winning at least one title with the club. If New York was to lift the Soccer Bowl Trophy again, it be a dream finish for longtime captain Carlos Mendes, who will be playing in his final game this weekend.
While the Deltas are a first-year side, they head into the contest with significant ties to The Championship Final. San Francisco boss Marc Dos Santos led Ottawa Fury FC to the title game in 2015, when his side came up just short against New York in a 3-2 loss. Romuald Peiser and Tommy Heinemann, who were both important players for Dos Santos in his previous run to the Final, have also played key roles for the Deltas this year.
Heinemann finished the year as the club’s top scorer with nine goals. The target forward scored four times in his last trip to The Championship – two goals in Ottawa’s semifinal victory and another two in the Final. This year, Peiser kept 12 clean sheets, which was the second most in the NASL this year.
For the third straight year, Dos Santos has coached his side to a championship game. He lost both finals in the New York area, but will get a chance to lift a trophy in front of his home fans on Sunday.
The two sides split their season series this year, with New York and San Francisco each posting a record of 1W-2D-1L against the other. The last matchup between the Cosmos and Deltas was back on September 20, and it ended in a 2-2 draw at MCU Park in Brooklyn. In that game, the Cosmos looked to have taken all three points until some late-game heroics from Devon Sandoval, who scored a pair of goals to salvage a draw for visiting San Francisco.
Savarese has gotten the better of his head-to-head coaching matchup with Dos Santos, posting a record of 6W-3D-2L against the Montreal native. That record includes the victory in The Championship Final in 2015.
In addition to airing on beIN SPORTS’ broadcasting platforms, The Championship Final can be seen live by international viewers onÂ NASL.com.
Cosmos fans will also be meeting for a viewing party at Offside Tavern on W14th St.