Preview: New York Cosmos at San Antonio Scorpions

IMAGE, ANTHONY J. MERCED FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

Take two, everybody!

The New York Cosmos are once again firmly in control of their destiny as they head out on the road to take on the cellar dwelling San Antonio Scorpions. At stake, once more, is a berth to the Soccer Bowl – and a victory would punch their ticket to the promised land.

A loss wouldn’t necessarily mean New York has to wait for next week to qualify. In fact, a loss or a draw tonight and a Tampa Bay loss or draw at Edmonton tomorrow clinches their trip to Atlanta.

Of course, that isn’t the way the Cosmos want to do it.

Here are some points to look for this weekend:

OVERLOOKING THE OPPOSITION

On the periphery, this game has trap written all over it. The Cosmos played well for 90 minutes against Edmonton and proved to be taking the game every bit as seriously as expected.

They fell short.

Now they face the worst team in NASL. Will they underestimate their opposition?

“No, no, no, for us this is considered a final – or better yet, a semi-final this time, because in order to make it to the final, we need to win this semi-final,” head coach Giovanni Savarese tells EOS. “For us, it’s a crucial game, very important. We come into this game with the understanding that we need to win, that we want to manage our fate and it is in our hand.

“We want to make sure that this weekend we are able to get the three points that we need in order to be able to win.”

DIMITROV or NOSELLI … or BOTH?!

Last week, we discussed the possibility of Noselli starting in place of Dimitrov against Edmonton.

What we saw instead was Dimitrov assisting on a dramatic goal by the impact Italian sub.

The question then becomes not whether one will start over the other – which can still be possible. Will Savarese instead field both to put pressure on the leagues worst defense from the opening minute?

GETTING THE FIRST GOAL

The San Antonio Scorpions may have a strong following at their grounds (second in attendance only to the Cosmos), but they have been weak at Toyota Field this season.

The Scorps are 3-0-3 in San Antonio, garnering more losses at home than any club in the NASL.

An early goal would deflate the Scorpions and put them behind the eight ball. That kind of psychological edge could very well carry the day, burying the home side before they have a chance to put up a fight.

WILL NY REMEMBER THE FIRST MATCH …

While they may not be the best team in the NASL, San Antonio nearly pulled the rug underneath the Cosmos at Hofstra earlier this season with a late-equalizer. New York would earn their “Cardiac Cosmos” monicker with one of the first of many extra-time dramatics to seal a win.

“We thought that we had them last game. We did everything possible to get a win. Unfortunately, they got a break, a tie, and now we need to do it this weekend coming up.”

Here are the highlights: