Preview: Cosmos Look to Spoil Scorpions’ Fall

IMAGE, NYCOSMOS.COM

by ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

Saturday’s clash against the San Antonio Scorpions has more meaning than many may think.

Both the Cosmos and Scorpions are locked into their perspective playoff spots but there is still a chance for San Antonio to take home the Fall Season Championship. Much like the last game of the Fall 2013 season, expect both teams to play somewhat weaker squads in an effort to get their best players extra rest and avoid potential injury. Still this is a chance for the Cosmos to test out new tactics as the playoffs approach.

Strikers Still Have Something to Prove

We may not see Mads Stokkelien start against San Antonio leaving an opportunity for Danny Mwanga and Hans Denissen to prove their worth before the important semi-final meeting. Head coach Savarese has made it clear that he hasn’t been thrilled with his team’s goal production. With that said, Denissen is only now turning a corner after his lengthy recovery from knee surgery. Should he have a great start, it could sway the opinion of the coaching staff as to who the second striker will be next week.

If one thing was proven during the Tampa Bay game it’s that Savarese won’t give a tremendous amount of time for players to prove themselves this late in the season. Mwanga’s brief stint as the lone striker for the Cosmos lasted only forty-five minutes. It won’t take long for Savarese to decide whether Denissen or Mwanga are better options than Stokkelien who has only scored seven goals all year.

Defense Will Need to Rest But Stay Vigilant

We may not see the usual back four on the field but they should take notes on all aspects of San Antonio. This includes the field length, conditions and ball movement on the grass. The Cosmos haven’t played a game in San Antonio since last October and will certainly need a refresher before their semi-final playoff game. Even if the Scorpions don’t send out a full squad, certain tactics and strategies should be similar. Defenders like Mendes and Ayoze will certainly be keeping their eyes peeled for any weaknesses.

The rest is also essential for a back four that has seen a lot of action. Mendes has been on the field for a majority of the season and Roversio is still regaining his legs after an injury spell. It will also give Savarese enough time to decide who is most fit and capable of reconstructing the defense that was seemingly impenetrable during the Spring Season.

Cosmos Could Play Spoiler

Despite having locked in the second place playoff spot, San Antonio still has the chance to win the Fall Season. A win, combined with a Minnesota loss could have the Scorpions taking home one of the two season trophies. The Cosmos could seriously rattle San Antonio’s confidence by ruining any chance of a celebration in Texas. They’ll have to play tough as the Scorpions have only lost one game at home this season and three all year. Two of them were to the combined standings leading Minnesota United. On the flip side the Cosmos have only lost two games on the road and scored more goals away from Hofstra.

Keeping a trophy out of San Antonio’s hands isn’t a top priority but could seriously hurt the Scorpions momentum similar to what the Red Bulls did to Kansas City before their playoff game last night. Momentum is always important when heading into the playoffs. With a win or draw the Cosmos would extend their undefeated streak to six games, an underrated stat considering the team. Despite the upcoming playoff fixture in a week. There will be tons of motivation for the Cosmos to play hard against San Antonio.