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PREVIEW: New York Cosmos vs Tampa Bay Rowdies

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The Cosmos look to overcome their road woes against bitter rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Soccer: Jacksonville Armada FC at New York Cosmos Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Cosmos will look to return to winning ways this Saturday when they face off with their bitter rivals the Tampa Bay Rowdies. After winning the first three games of the Fall Season, The Cosmos were smacked in a 3-0 defeat to Rayo OKC, which saw former Cosmos trialist Georgios Samaras putting the nail in the coffin with the game’s final goal. The Cosmos will likely need three points if they want to remain top of the NASL Fall Season and Combined tables.

The Cosmos will look to overcome the road struggles they have faced this NASL season, in which they have won only two of their seven road matches. A major question for the Cosmos will be who starts next to captain Carlos Mendes in defense. It looks likely that Kenya international David Ochieng will be given another chance to fill the cleats of Roversio, who despite his hand in the Cosmos’ NASL championship last season has only played 20 minutes this campaign due to injury woes. The Cosmos will also look to improve their finishing after having three shots on target in their last match, despite dominating possession.

The Tampa Bay Rowdies, on the other hand, have been firing on all cylinders after winning 3-0 in their last match against Puerto Rico FC. A statement win against the Cosmos could throw the mid-table Rowdies back into the mix.

Players to watch:

The team will likely look to NASL team of the week midfielder Andres Flores to provide a spark in the attack. Flores, who has been making the most of his recent run of starts, scored and created a goal in the Cosmos’ win against Miami FC.

After topping SportsCenter’s Top Ten with his #bicyCOLE overhead kick, all eyes will be on former Chelsea midfield Joe Cole. The Cosmos will also be worried about Tom Heinemann, who scored twice against them with the Ottawa Fury in The Championship final last season and in the reverse fixture this campaign.

Match Prediction:

The Cosmos won the reverse fixture in the Fall Season and I expect them to rise to the occasion again on Saturday. I’m predicting a 2-1 win with Lucky Mkosana and Andres Flores finding the back of the net.

Watch the match on Saturday at 7:30 pm on One World Sports and ESPN3.