The Cosmos will open their 2014 campaign against the same club they defeated in the 2013 Soccer Bowl, the Atlanta Silverbacks. While facing last season's runner up may not seem like the easiest possible way to start the campaign, the schedule makers may have actually done the Cosmos a favor when they set up this fixture.
Atlanta spent last season managed by Brian Haynes, but made the questionable decision to let him go after some poor results during the fall season. In fairness to Haynes, the club had already secured the right to host last season's Soccer Bowl when they finished atop the spring season standings, and had very little to play for during the fall campaign. The decision was still made to replace Haynes with former interim manager Eric Wynalda despite insignificance of the fall fixtures, even though the former US national had already left the same post once due to his television commitments to FOX.
Before his second spell in charge of the club even gets underway, Wynalda again seems to be putting his television career in front of the needs of the club he's supposed to be coaching. Last Tuesday the Atlanta manager was partnering Gus Johnson, calling a Champions League game live from Manchester, England. As of today, he's still in Europe. He and Johnson will be partnering again, calling the second leg of the same quarterfinal from Munich, Germany.
It's presumed that Wynalda will be in charge on Sunday when the Silverbacks kick off their season, but it brings into question just how effectively he'll be able to do this, having been away from such a large portion of the final preparations for the 2014 campaign. Common sense would seem to indicate that the assistant who is coaching the club during his extended absence would be the wiser choice to make decisions on Sunday, though that same common sense would have likely precluded the club from hiring a full-time television analyst to manage the squad in the first place.
Regardless, it appears the Cosmos will have the opportunity to be the first beneficiary of Atlanta's decision to go with a part-time manager who has been nowhere near his club during the buildup to the opener. Here's hoping they take advantage, and start the spring season with three points.