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Match Preview: New York Cosmos vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

The Cosmos face off again with rivals Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Soccer: Rayo OKC at New York Cosmos Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Cosmos continue their homestand this weekend with a derby against the Tampa Bay Rowdies. New York will be looking to bounce back after drawing Rayo OKC last weekend. The Cosmos were able to pick themselves up after conceding within the first five minutes, but couldn’t find a winner in the second half. After the match Gio Savarese discussed the difficult first half:

Tampa Bay are looking to keep momentum going after defeating Ft. Lauderdale 2-1 last week. Having lost two of their last three games, an away win against the Cosmos could put Tampa Bay back on the radar.

Keys to the Match

New York will be looking to keep a clean sheet against their rivals. Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer expressed his frustration when discussing Gio’s halftime talk:

The Cosmos defense will have to be at their best to shut down players like Joe Cole and Georgi Hristov. The Rowdies have also recently signed PC from Ft. Lauderdale, who tricky skills are capable of breaking a defense.

The Cosmos will also to need to improve their finishing from the OKC match. Despite taking thirteen shots, New York was only able to score once last match. Lucky Mkosana, who returned to the starting eleven this Spring Season, could be the impact player against his former team. When asked about playing on the wing rather than his preferred place up the middle, he said:

Finally, the Cosmos will have to be prepared for a physical match. The Cosmos and Rowdies have been rivals since the old-school NASL days, and even the team’s respective Twitter accounts have beef:

Tensions were high last time these teams played, especially because Tampa Bay were irritated with the officiating. Expect Danny Szetela to start in midfield and bring his trademark physical play.

Match Prediction:

I think the Cosmos will edge out the Rowdies 1-0 in a hard-fought and exciting match.

The match kicks off at 7pm at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium. The game will also be televised on One World Sports, and for the first time, streamed on AOL.

Author’s note: Quotes used were slightly edited for clarity.