When the Cosmos take on the San Antonio Scorpions on Saturday, they'll be looking at a very different squad than the one they defeated twice during the 2013 fall season. After watching Hans Denissen defect to the Cosmos this winter, Scorpions' president Howard Cornfield criticized the reigning champions for spending recklessly before going on a spending spree unmatched by the rest of the NASL. Much of that spending focused on adding attack-minded midfielders, and once that unit really starts to click, San Antonio's midfield should be one of the elite units in the league.
On Saturday, the Cosmos are likely to start with a numerical disadvantage in the center of the pitch, meaning that the duo of Marcos Senna and Danny Szetela will have to be on their game for the Cosmos to control possession from start to finish. Given the talent that will be on the pitch, that won't be an easy task. Szetela is going to have to read and anticipate the Scorpions' attack, and make good, quick decisions when in possession.
Szetela was one of the biggest surprises of the 2013 campaign, going from something of a wild card on the roster to one of the best players in the league. Through the first two matches of the 2014 season, the Cosmos haven't really faced a club looking to take their time and build possession from the back. Saturday night should give us the first real opportunity we've had this season to see the Cosmos' midfield tested, and if Szetela and Senna replicate their form from 2013, the club will likely remain atop the league table after week three concludes.