Preview: New York Cosmos host San Antonio Scorpions

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

The San Antonio Scorpions may be the defending NASL champions, but they certainly don’t look the part.

The Scorpions are 4-5-7 (17 pts.) in the overall standings, but have managed only a single victory in the Fall (1-2-3, 5 pts.) through six matches. While still scoring at an impressive clip (13 goals) the Scorpions have given up a league high 16 goals in the Fall table. They are currently 10th of a possible 11 teams in the overall table.

The Cosmos, meanwhile, have begun to rediscover their mojo, remaining a single point behind Ottawa in the combined table (2-3-1 Fall, 7-8-1 overall). The team is undefeated in their past four matches (2-2-0) outscoring opponents 8 to 5 in that timeframe.

A win for the Cosmos can mean a serious jump up the Fall table, and a possible lead in the overall standings.


PROJECTED XI:

NY Cosmos (4-2-3-1): Maurer; Freeman, Mendes, Caceres, Ayoze; Senna, Szetela; Restrepo, Raul, Fernandes; Lucky

Scorpions (4-4-2): Sattler; Gibson, Attakora, Cann, Soto; Chavez, Nane, Castillo, Forbes; Cummings, Gentile

HISTORY/LAST ENCOUNTER:

The Cosmos lead the series 3-1-4 overall. They also won the last encounter between both clubs on May 23rd – a 3-0 result at Shuart Stadium.

BATTLE TO WATCH:  Cummings vs. Mendes.

The Cosmos have been stout defensively, but teams have continuously tried to test their back line with speed. Cummings, a goal scoring wizard, will be no different, particularly coming off of an NASL Best XI of the Week performance.

X-FACTOR: Senna

The Cosmos’ talisman is due a start after a long, quiet run. Will he be in the roster for New York? And how will he influence the match?


WHAT TO EXPECT:

Teams always play up to the New York Cosmos. Call it a reputation, call it what you will, but that has been a recurring theme since their re-introduction to the NASL in 2013.

This weekend will be no different. While New York handed San Antonio a harsh result earlier this year, the Scorpions will be driven for a victory regardless of their past issues. Joseph Nane is a former Cosmos player that will surely be looking to make his mark on the match. Forbes and Cummings are also two threatening players that will test the legs of New York’s back line.

On the other end, Senna and Szetela look poised to reunite this week, giving the Cosmos first teamers their first real run since the U.S. Open Cup began this past May. Home field always plays an advantage for New York, particularly due to the unforgiving nature of Shuart’s artificial grounds.

With a healthy team and a reeling opponent, New York are poised to take three points. But will it be three? Cummings may have something to say about that.

Prediction: Cosmos 2-2 Scorpions