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Cosmos Have Links to New York Red Bulls

Mike Stobe

There is no shortage of members of the Cosmos organization that have some sort of connection to the New York Red Bulls organization.

The Cosmos COO Erik Stover is a former Red Bulls executive, the team captain Carlos Mendes played for the Red Bulls from 2005-2011, and the team's head coach Giovanni Savarese was a member of the New Jersey based organization when the Bulls were known as the MetroStars. So there is very much a link between the two clubs.

Even Cosmos midfielder Danny Szetela has a connection to the Red Bulls. It was widely known that Szetela, a New Jersey native, wanted to play for the Red Bulls coming into MLS in 2004, but things did  not work out and he ended up with the Columbus Crew.

"I was from Clifton, so at the time [the Red Bulls] were still playing at Giants stadium. I lived five minutes from there, so at the time I wanted to stay locally," Szetela explained. "I decided to stay in MLS instead of going to Europe and thats what I wanted to do, but it unfortunately didn't work out. I ended up in Columbus, but it was a good time in Columbus."

The 26-year-old has faced the Red Bulls in competition, but for Mendes this will be the first time he faces his former club.

"Excited, but again just another game. It should be a very good one because they're a good team," Mendes explained.

Though the rosters substantially different from when Mendes was a member of the Red Bulls. He said the only three players he has played with on the current roster are Dax McCarty, Roy Miller and Thierry Henry.

What's at stake in Saturday's head-to-head matchup between the Red Bulls and Cosmos is well documented. The winner will advance to the fifth round of the U.S. Open Cup and have bragging rights over the losing club. The latter is more important for the Cosmos, who are trying to showcase that they can compete with the best in any league.

Though the Cosmos are trying to look at the first ever New York Derby as just another game.

"I think the approach is the same as every week. It's just another game," Mendes said. "They're a very good team, so we need to be on our game and make sure we're focused. For us the preparation and everything else is the same. We're just looking forward to it because it will be a great atmosphere and I think the fans will enjoy it."