The New York Cosmos have just three regular season matches remaining, and realistically, they'll probably need to win all of them if they hope to finish atop the North American Soccer League's combined table. At the moment, they sit just a single point (and a tiebreaker) behind Ottawa Fury FC, but have played one match more than the current league leaders.
Luckily for New York, two of their final three matches will be played in front of a home crowd, including this weekend's match against FC Edmonton. The boys in green will already know the results of both the Minnesota United and Ottawa matches when they kick off Sunday at 5 pm ET, as both of their closest rivals (in the standings) play on Saturday evening.
The Cosmos could be without a pair of key players, with both Raul and Adam Moffat suffering from injury. Raul picked up a minor knock during the draw with Atlanta, forcing him out early in the match, and causing him to be left out of the squad on Wednesday. He's not been ruled out for certain, but with the playoffs looming and an unforgiving surface at Shuart Stadium, it would be a bit of a surprise to see him start this one. Meanwhile, Moffat continues to deal with a foot injury, and definitely won't take part in this one.
Fortunately, depth shouldn't be an issue at either position, with both Marcos Senna and Danny Szetela expected to be fit, and Gaston Cellerino impressing midweek. Gio Savarese also has recent loan signing Kharlton Belmar available, who made his Cosmos' debut against the Silverbacks.
For Edmonton, this one is almost a must-win match if they hope to make the playoffs, as they sit tied for the final spot with both Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale, but have played one more match than the Strikers, who have a large lead in goal difference as well. That said, both Tampa and Fort Lauderdale have tough fixtures against Ottawa and Minnesota respectively, meaning that a point could become a great result for the Eddies, depending on how those matches turn out.
With that in mind, I'd expect a relatively open affair, which should be a lot of fun. Here's hoping the boys take their chances this week, and more importantly, that nobody picks up a serious injury ahead of the playoffs.