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NASL Championship has local ties

Ex-Philadelphia Union players and coaches are on both sides of today's Championship match.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Today is the NASL Championship match between the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury. Normally we leave the NASL coverage to our friends at Twice A Cosmo, however it's an opportune time to point out that these two teams have plenty of connections to our area.

The New York Cosmos leading scorer is Philadelphia Union loanee Leo Fernandes. Fernandes scored eight goals and won the NASL Young Player of the Year award.

The Cosmos have Brian Holt on the team. Holt was a member of Reading United and Harrisburg City Islanders before signing with the Union in 2014. Holt never made a start and was released in 2014 prior to joining the Cosmos.

Also on the Cosmos is Lucky Mkosana. Mkosana also spent time with both Reading United and Harrisburg before going to the Cosmos.

The Cosmos are also coached by Alecko Eskandarian, who was the Union's youth technical director prior to being let go in 2013. He also serves as the head coach of the Cosmos' B team.

The Ottawa Fury have only one tie to the area, right back Ryan Richter. The Southampton native was with the Union in 2011, but was loaned to Harrisburg before being released at the end of the season. He caught on with Toronto FC in 2013, but was loaned to Ottawa after playing 13 games with the Reds. The move was made permanent in 2015.

Kickoff is at 5:00 PM on ONE World Sports and will be streamed on the NASL website via ESPN3.