Hey, it’s Friday! Which means it’s almost match day. Sunday’s match-up against the 2nd place Tampa Bay Rowdies (14 points) at Shuart Stadium is obviously the biggest game of the season thus far. Here are some of my thoughts ahead of the match:
- While I think the Rowdies are undoubtedly one of the strongest teams in the NASL, I’m sorry, I am not overly impressed with their 10-game unbeaten streak. Not when 5 draws are part of said streak. Maybe if I didn’t hear about the streak numerous times this week from the Rowdies and their fans I’d be more impressed.
- That said, I am fearful of their potent offense. The Rowdies have scored 8 goals in their last 3 games and have 18 goals total this fall season (Though that 7-4 win over lowly San Antonio week 1 are a big chunk of those). We are all well aware of the Cosmos’ offensive woes this season, though they did “break out” last week in Ft. Lauderdale with a 2 goal game in their 2-0 victory. Maybe they are starting to turn the corner on their finishing problem.
- The best offense is a good defense, and the Cosmos have just that. The boys in green held the big bad Rowdies offense to a 0-0 draw in week 2, a week after they scored 7 goals in San Antonio. In fact, other than that ugly 3-0 loss in Carolina, the ‘Mos have held all opponents to under a goal per game. Roversio, Mendes and co. have done a great job and goalkeeper Kyle Reynish has 3 clean sheets. A lot has been made about the
frustratinggreat opposing keepers we have faced in past weeks, but Reynish has been as reliable as any of them. Also, will Ayoze start LB again for Sunday’s game? It worked pretty well last week. Or will he return to the midfield with Hunter Freeman coming off his red.
- Speaking of red, can we please stop getting unnecessary cards in the last minutes of the game? I don’t need a repeat anxiety attack like the one I almost suffered at the end of the Minnesota game two weeks ago. Thanks.
- Soccer By Ives reports that defender Hunter Gorskie suffered some sort of injury to his right leg during an intra-squad scrimmage Thursday. They report that his status is unknown and coach Gio Savarese “didn’t know the extent of the injury following practice.” Will Sunday be the first game Gorskie misses all season?
- Attendance. This is a big issue this week. As we all know, this game was moved from Saturday to Sunday a few weeks ago, not a good move (Thanks Hofstra!). It’s the first home Sunday match of the year, which is scary with the NFL on and Jets playing at 4 p.m. Nobody wins going head-to-head with NFL in any format. It doesn’t help that Long Island is the home base for Jets Nation. With about 40 of Ralph’s Mob graciously making the trip north, the 5 Points needs to be at the top of their game. A scenario where their section is louder than ours would be pretty embarrassing. However, I have faith in the Cosmos faithful to make it to the points for this huge game. I’m predicting around 6,000 fans for this game, that’s not too much to ask for.
- A win would be incredible! To be able to put further space between us and the rest of the NASL pack would give me great confidence that we’re going to win the league!