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Can the New York Cosmos still finish atop the NASL table?

New York Cosmos

The Cosmos fall season has not been as successful as we may have hoped. After a strong spring season finish unbeaten in first place, we were more than optimistic for a strong second-half showing. However, after dropping some points in places that we should not have, we find ourselves in a disappointing third place in the combined table, which would mean the club would not be guaranteed to host the final if they make it that far.

While we’ve been massively disappointing this fall, there's still plenty of reason to think the boys in green can finish this season as the best team in the NASL. Here's what we have to do, and the help we need from our opponents.

What do we have to do:

Stop dropping easy points

The Cosmos have a huge reputation as one of the best teams in the NASL. So there’s not much reason for us to be dropping points to teams we’ve beaten comfortably just earlier this year. If we want any chance to make it far into the postseason, we need to clean up our act, especially away.

Less Cardiac Cosmos

While the ability to come back in the dying minutes of the game is undeniably useful, we need to stop letting it get that late. While it’s entertaining to pull out one or three points at the last second, it’s a dangerous game to play, with dangerous consequences if we lose. We're also behind both Ottawa and Minnesota in terms of GD, something that's not going to get any better unless the Cosmos manage a comfortable win or two.

Also, don’t forget how much this drains our players. In the postseason, we need safe, albeit slightly boring wins if we want the best chances of advancing

Now that those are out of the way, here's what we need both Ottawa and Minnesota to do in order to better our chances:

Drop some points

The combined table has us nearly ten points ahead of anyone below us, but barely behind Minnesota on goal difference and behind Ottawa by two points. The Cosmos will need Ottawa to drop at least two points between now and the end of the season, and likely more. The same is probably true for Minnesota, and Gio Savarese's side don't play either of those clubs again during the regular season.

Unfortunately, we lost a valuable chance to gain some ground at Minnesota when we drew them 0-0, but they could easily fall behind if they lose or even tie the Rowdies. Furthermore, in their next week, they face a fairly strong Fort Lauderdale, so ties or losses there could be hugely beneficial for us. Regarding the Fury, we have to wait and see if they end up conceding much home against Edmonton, but a prime chance for us to gain some advantage will be in their away game in Tampa Bay.

Overall, the 2015 season, like all things Cosmos, is coming down to the wire. It’s a little to early to tell who will get that hypothetical home advantage in the final, but if the Cosmos want that coveted first-place spot on the table, they’re going to need to take up every advantage they can and hope that their opponents don’t.