Preview: New York Cosmos at Ottawa Fury

IMAGE, NYCOSMOS.COM

By ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

For better or for worse, the worst performance New York has had since their return to the NASL last year wasn’t seen by that many people.

In some ways, the team and the organization have a chance to put all of that behind them as they play the Ottawa Fury in front of what may be the largest audience to ever witness a modern day NASL game.

With a fresh outlook and hopefully a healthier line up, the Cosmos should find themselves in a much better position after Sunday’s game.

Cosmos Have Been More Potent On the Road

There is no doubt that the Cosmos have been better on the road than at home. Despite a 4-1 victory to kick off the Spring Season, the Cosmos have not scored more than one goal in any of their other home games this year. On the contrary, they have scored three goals twice away from home. Both occasions were against opposition from Florida, but if the weather in Edmonton during last week’s Fury game was any evidence, the conditions could be downright Floridian in the Great White North.

To this point, the team has only allowed one goal on the road.

New York has had no problems making themselves at home on opposition territory. Mads Stokkelien has also proven to be more effective on wider fields, finding himself far less inclined to track back to the midfield to create plays. Should Marcos Senna be available, the team would be able to produce more from the middle without giving up anything defensively.

This Team Needs Leadership

This is not a knock on Carlos Mendes, but Senna is the glue that holds the Cosmos together. The Spanish star has at times been the fiercest offensive player and the calming touch in front of the defense. Should he be fit, New York could use his talents and leadership in what will definitely be a pro Ottawa environment. Senna has also played in front of big crowds before and should be able to lend an experienced voice to an intense atmosphere.

Senna has been out with a groin injury since the Indy IX game, and while the team has not made a public announcement about his health, the injury was bad enough to keep him out of the Cosmos US Open Cup campaign; a campaign that was marked by extreme highs and extreme lows. For that reason, Senna’s long term durability has certainly been brought into question. As the team’s only major star, and most intimidating presence, it is important to have him on the field as often as possible.

For now, he remains questionable after another week of practice.

Ottawa Will Need a Win As Well

To steal a line from the Brian De Palma film¬†Scarface: “Never underestimate the other guy’s greed!” Ottawa has been put in a very precarious position. The team is opening a new stadium, coming off of a disappointing first game and looking to have a better showing than the Spring Season.

They should be entering the game guns blazing. The Cosmos will definitely need to weather an early storm of emotions and slow the game down. If they can accomplish that (a tall order considering the amount of fans that will be present), they should be able to overcome the Fury.

A loss for Ottawa would almost certainly float a dark cloud over their playoff chances. The Cosmos at least have some wiggle room should they need a few games to rediscover themselves.

After finishing one point off of the lead in the Spring Season, New York has far less pressure on them than Ottawa. Should they keep their cool, the Cosmos should escape with a win.


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