Preview: New York Cosmos host Carolina Railhawks

IMAGE, NYCOSMOS.COM

By ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

Despite what many New York Cosmos fans may think, the sky is not falling.

The team may not have gotten off to the greatest start in the 2014 Fall Season, but it isn’t terrible. In fact, the team has a six point lead on one of the playoff spots. The team closest to them is who they’ll be hosting at Hofstra this Saturday — the Carolina Railhawks. By their own standards, Carolina has been incredibly disappointing, posting a 1-3 record. Their most recent result against Ottawa broke a four game losing streak dating back to the end of the Spring Season.

COSMOS IN THE DRIVER’S SEAT

Fans may be clamoring for a win, especially after the loss to San Antonio in week one, but the Railhawks are the ones who desperately need to win.

Should New York take the full three points, they will pull nine points clear of Carolina in the combined standings. The pressure is on the opposition and New York needs to make sure they stifle them early as the Cosmos defense has done so well in the past.

There is also a sense of revenge to this game. Carolina handed the Cosmos their second loss of the 2014 season with a 1-0 victory in their stadium. Head coach Giovanni Savarese doesn’t easily forget such things and will surely have the team motivated and hungry for payback.

A HEALTHY SENNA MAKES COSMOS BETTER

Marcos Senna was substituted into the last game, making more progress towards a full time return. Should that happen on Saturday, the Cosmos will have a formidable line up looking closer to what they imagined at the start of the season. Mads Stokkelein and Hans Denissen will have Senna behind them, controlling midfield play and potentially opening them up to be the strikers the Cosmos need them to be.

At worst, Senna also provides another offensive alternative in case the stalled New York offense continues to sputter.

Another factor of Senna’s return is his leadership. The team, at times, has looked lost without their star midfielder and could use his calming presence to get their game flowing like it used to. While he may not wear the captain’s armband on the field, Senna is the team’s leader, constantly talking with players and keeping morale high. A return should help add an extra step in the team’s game.

HOME COOKING

There is a sense of anticipation over the type of audience the Cosmos will see at Hofstra. Make no mistake about it — the team has to be disappointed with the attendance this year. While other factors may have been apparent on occasion, there is still little excuse as to why they can’t maintain a decent following.

This weekend, the team is selling the event as a double header. The local Cosmos Copa Final will happen just before the first team kicks off against the Railhawks. Hopefully, the local crowd mixed with the usual Cosmos fanbase can create an atmosphere that comes across at the stadium and on the screen.

The other reason the Cosmos should be concerned about attendance for the Carolina game is because of the Edmonton game coming up midweek. Wednesday games have never been successful for any team — MLS or NASL. With a 7:30 PM start time and a long travel to Hofstra, you can expect that fans may not be as willing to make the trip — especially to see the Cosmos play an Edmonton team that has been quite poor this year. Hopefully the team’s efforts will bear fruit as anything below six thousand would have to be seen as a failure considering the only competition are the Red Bulls.

  • Anonymous

    6,000 fans at Hofstra tonight? Not a chance! Even if they announce 6,000, that means about 3,900 actual butts on the bleachers.

    • Anonymous

      Announced attendance of 4,600. Cosmos 2.0 is dying a slow death. Should have paid up and joined MLS. Now it’s too late.