COSMOS COPA CHAMPIONSHIP: NYC HAITI 2-1 NYC POLAND
NYC Haiti defeated two-time defending Cosmos Copa champions, NYC Poland, 2-1 in a rousing display to claim their first ever Cosmos Copa title.
The first half was a telling opening 45 minutes as NYC Haiti came flying out of the gate and took the game to Poland. Haiti dominated possession and displayed their physical prowess, especially during aerial, 50/50 balls.
Jean-Baptiste Frtizson had the first chance of the match when he found some open space ten yards outside the 18-yard box, but his shot from distance missed well wide.
However, just two minutes after his scuffed shot, Fritzson latched onto an inch-perfect cross from Elysee Vilsaint and headed past the keeper to open the scoring for Haiti. The raucous Haitian crowd erupted with joy as the players on the field performed their signature celebration, much to the delight of the fans packed into Macombs Dam Park.
As the half carried on, Haiti were the better side as they showed impressive confidence on the ball. Their one and two-touch passing in the center of midfield troubled a much slower Polish side.
Nevertheless, as champions always do, Poland found their equalizer through Konrad Plewa after a sloppy giveaway in the back from Haiti. Mateusz Brela collected the misplaced pass and fed Plewa, who slotted the ball into the corner of the net, just pass the outstretched hands of the keeper. Plewa trotted to the sidelines in celebration, gesturing to the frenzied Polish crowd.
Yvenner Guerrier nearly took the lead right back for Haiti, but he couldn’t connect cleanly with a clever ball that was played through to him by Vilsaint.
Guerrier’s chance really brought the match to life as Brela almost took the lead for Poland, but his shot was deflected wide of the target.
As both teams headed to their benches for halftime, Poland were counting their blessings as Haiti were left ruing their lone defensive mistake.
Poland came out of the halftime interval with a lot more attacking intent than they had in the first half, but it was Haiti who nearly broke the deadlock. After being granted space to dribble down the right wing, Fritzson sent a fizzing shot towards goal that Marcin Czerwinski did well to parry wide.
However, before Poland could catch their breath after Frtizson’s near goal, Clamard Augustin’s left-footed half volley flew into the top corner of the net, giving Haiti a 2-1 lead. His wonder goal sent the Haitian crowd into a frenzy and left the Poles in utter shock.
Elysee Vilsaint nearly joined Augustin on the score sheet just three minutes later, but his left-footed volley missed high.
After nearly conceding their third goal of the match, Poland finally started to attack with increased urgency. Damian Serafin was inches away from handing his side the lifeline they desperately sought, but the Haitian keeper impressively saved his low, bouncing shot.
As soon as the Haitian defense snuffed out the Poles’ rebound shot, thunderous rain began to hit the pitch, dramatically sending the 2012 Cosmos Copa Final into a climactic final twenty minutes.
However, the next ten minutes would prove to be the most dramatic of the match as Haiti squandered two clear-cut opportunities to score their third goal of the afternoon. The first came when Fritzson, who was terrorizing the Polish defense the same way he did to the Bolivians in the Semifinals, managed to wriggle away from two defenders to come within six yards of the keeper. However, his impressive run failed to end in a goal as his shot was saved by Czerwinski.
Haiti’s second chance came five minutes later after Harold Junior Charles was taken down in the box by Lukasz Hausner, resulting in a penalty for the Haitians and a red card for Hausner.
As Hausner sulked off the pitch, fully aware that his mistake may have cost his team the match, Guerrier stepped up to the penalty spot, ready to score his seventh goal of the tournament.
However, the striker’s well-placed penalty was brilliantly saved by Czerwinski, sending the Polish fans into an uproar and the festive Haitians into sudden silence.
The remaining ten minutes of the game failed to see Poland create anymore legitimate chances to tie the match, despite the spark of energy they received from Czerwinski’s penalty save. They did have three late free kicks but the Haitian defense was more than up to the task and dealt with everything Poland threw their way.
As the full time whistle blew, the Haitian bench rushed onto the field in celebration, while their fans, rushed to the pitch to celebrate the victory with their beloved team.
Poland, noble runners-up, collected their medals and made way for NYC Haiti to lift the Cosmos Cup.
As soon as Shep Messing handed the hallowed trophy to the soaking wet Haitian players, Macombs Dam Park erupted in song as NYC Haiti, along with their fans, danced in celebration, too jubilant to worry about the rain pouring down on them.