The Cosmos kick off their first U.S> Open Cup campaign on Wednesday evening, hosting the Brooklyn Italians. Unlike the usual Cosmos' home match, however, this contest will be played at Belson Stadium due to scheduling difficulties at Hofstra. The game at St. John's will be the first home match for the NASL side at a venue other than Shuart Stadium.
On paper, this should be a relatively easy match for the Cosmos to win, as the NASL side probably boasts more talent on their bench than Brooklyn will have in its starting eleven. Knockout competitions provide a perfect stage for upsets, though, and the 2014 U.S. Open CUp will likely see its share of surprising results as well.
The Cosmos have a few injuries to worry about, and several players will be unavailable for the Wednesday night fixture. Marcos Senna won't be risked, with Danny Szetela and Joseph Nane likely starting in the Cosmos midfield. Hans Denissen, Jemal Johnson, and Diomar Diaz are also expected to miss the match, and don't be surprised to see regulars like Carlos Mendes and Hunter Freeman make way for guys like Hunter Gorskie and Jimmy Ockford tonight.
The winner of tonight's match will be looking at a match with the New York Red Bulls, with the venue dependent on who that winner is. Should the Italians advance, they'll be making the trip to New Jersey to play at Red Bull Arena. If the Cosmos prevail, they'll host the MLS side at Hofstra.
Tonight's match kicks off at 7:30 pm EDT, and if you can't make it out to St. John's, it will be televised on One World Sports. If One World Sports isn't available from your cable provider, you can always subscribe to DishWorld in order to stream the game live.