The New York Cosmos and Tampa Bay Rowdies have played some big matches in the past, but Saturday night's clash at Hofstra will be the biggest for both sides in the modern NASL. For the Cosmos, home field advantage throughout the playoffs could be on the line, depending on the result of the Ottawa Fury match played three hours earlier. For the Rowdies, a win will probably be required just to take the final spot in the semifinals, with the Fort Lauderdale Strikers having a chance to take that spot on Sunday if Tampa drops points.
How the Cosmos line up could be largely dependent on the Ottawa match, which should be almost finished when head coach Gio Savarese submits his lineup. With the exception of Adam Moffat, Savarese will have his entire squad available for selection, including Roversio, who has been dealing with injury for most of the fall season.
Unlike the Cosmos, the Rowdies lineup is likely already set in stone, and will be as strong a group as possible. A win is obviously the desired result for Tampa, but a draw makes one-point an unacceptable result for the Strikers on Sunday, so if it's tied late, we might see head coach Stuart Campbell take less risks, and play for the draw.
Regardless, this one has the chance to be a real tone-setter for the winner, much like the meeting between the two sides at Shuart during the 2013 fall season, which started the amazing Cosmos run that ended with a title in Atlanta.
That one was a lot of fun, here's everything you need to know ahead of Saturday's contest, which hopefully ends just as well for the boys in green:
Opponent: Tampa Bay Rowdies
Venue: Shuart Stadium, Hofstra
Date/Time: Sunday, October 31, 2015 at 7 pm ET
Forecast: Low-50s and cloudy, with a 0% chance of showers.
Television/Streaming: ONE World Sports televises all New York Cosmos matches, and as a home match, it won't be streamed live on ESPN 3. The OWS website will offer a streaming option, with the Cosmos' broadcast team for those without ONE in their television package.