Not surprisingly, Edmonton's lone representative to the NASL Best XI squad last season was a defender. Albert Watson has an outstanding season in the center of the Eddies' defense, and that unit's performance was key considering how little possession that side generally had.
The Canadian club brings back their 2013 roster largely intact, and looked in week one like a side that's going to set up in a similar fashion. Watson is going to have to keep his defense organized for long stretches of heavy New York pressure this evening, and given his squad's offensive limitations, that defense is probably going to have to limit the Cosmos to one goal or less if they have any hope of getting a result in their opener. The Cosmos will have their chances, but it's up to Watson and his defensive partners to assure that those chances come from outside the box as often as possible.
Fortunately for Gio Savarese's side, Mads Stokkelien should provide difficulties that the club didn't have for either of last season's draw with FC Edmonton. His combination of size, strength, and quickness combined with his ability to work in tight spaces make him an ideal player to occupy the center backs while other attackers look to exploit the cracks that creates. They'll need to do just that if they want to take three points tonight.