Preview: New York Cosmos host Indy Eleven

IMAGE, NYCOSMOS.COM

By ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

Let’s face it; Indy XI have been bad.

Two points in six games was not what fans or higher ups had hoped for. While they have shown good effort at home, especially against teams like Tampa Bay and Carolina, the results have not followed.

No one expected Indy to be competing for the Spring trophy, but they’ve stumbled out of the gate. Now, an impending trip to New York will be yet another challenge to what has already been a tumultuous start.

To make matters worse, they are facing one of the hottest teams in the NASL … on the road. The New York Cosmos are coming off of a brilliant 90 minute performance against rival Tampa Bay. They return home with three big points, keeping them in the Spring Championship race.

Here is what you can expect this Saturday:

Cosmos Have Mads Going

After a first half in Tampa where the offense was almost completely nonexistent, Mads Stokkelien found his goal-scoring ways in the 48th minute when he headed a Marcos Senna pass into the net.

It is his second goal of the season, and while it may have had something to do with Tampa’s late first half goalie substitution, signs point to Mads finally finding his grove. He has found it hard finding openings in the first six games of the season. However when he does have opportunities, his efforts have been just a bit off.

In Tampa, that goal-poaching mentality seemed to be sharp. While Indy has been pesky defensively, Mads should be able to find a few opportunities against them as well — especially since the team has notoriously produced more scoring opportunities at home than on the road.

Ball Possession Should Frustrate Indy

Savarese’s smothering 4-5-1 formation has been able to suffocate counterattacks in the last two games. Indy isn’t known for their fast breaks and will have to find a way to get through the wall New York has set up in the middle of the field.

On top of that, they’ve scored just as many goals as the Cosmos while surrendering almost double that amount. Both the Eleven and the Atlanta Silverbacks have given up a whopping, league leading 14 goals through six matches.

It’s been noted that the Cosmos have striking woes but they have been far more successful at creating opportunities than Indy. That, and the Eleven’s woeful road form spell goals for New York.

Title Race is Massive Motivation

Giovanni Savarese has more than enough firepower to motive the Cosmos.

They are three points back of the league leaders with only three games left to play. They will need Minnesota to slip up to have a chance at the title.

No game should ever be looked at as a certain three points, but Indy is the kind of team that the Cosmos should  beat decisively. A slip up at this point would almost certainly cost the Cosmos the Spring Championship; a scenario that head coach Savarese doesn’t even want to ponder.

Staying Healthy And Looking Ahead

Priorities will start to become a factor as the season draws to a close.

Diomar Diaz and Jemal Johnson will miss their second straight game as they work towards full fitness. The Cosmos have done enough to patch up their absence. However, the long term effects on their campaign will have to be analyzed.

Five days after the Indy game, the Cosmos will need to turn around and play the Brooklyn Italians at St. Johns University. It is an important fixture as a win would pit them against New York’s MLS side, the Red Bulls.

Getting the roster healthy and keeping the starters safe will be important. If the Cosmos can bury the game early, expect to see substitutions for key players. New York has stated that the US Open Cup is a major priority, so scoring early and preserving legs will be paramount in their plans.

  • Anthony

    Cosmos can only control their results, they need to win out i think to win the Spring, Minn has 2 road games to finish the year, odds are they drop some points before June 8th.

  • Anonymous

    In this recent podcast interview, NASL commissioner Bill Peterson says multi-division NASL with promotion & relegation will very likely happen within next decade or possibly a lot sooner.

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/lunchandsoccerwar/2014/05/23/lunch-and-soccer-war-nasl-commissioner-bill-peterson

    It’s not a completely open pyriamid, but it would be a start. I wonder if NPSL would be involved on some level?