It’s all down to this folks. The final game of the Cosmos regular season dawns upon us. The Originals take on Puerto Rico FC in a win to get in scenario for the playoffs.
New York Cosmos - 3-9-3, 4th place, 18 points (42 points from Fall and Spring Seasons)
Puerto Rico FC - 1-6-9, 8th place, 9 points (Mathematically eliminated from playoff contention)
The New York Cosmos have been in relatively decent form as of late. They thumped PRFC by a score of 4-1 a couple of weeks ago, but failed to grasp a winner in a shootout with the Armada which ended 4-4.
The good news is that the Cosmos have been able to score goals lightly. On the flip side of the coin, their defense has been rather suspect all season long. According to Opta Stats, New York has conceded 49 goals this season which is good for 1.6 per game. Jimmy Maurer has conceded 35 goals this season, second to Indy Eleven keeper Jon Busch.
To make up for their poor defensive play at certain moments is the Cosmos ability to make plays offensively at any moment. Fans should never forget the Cardiac Cosmos effort against the Armada, where they scored three goals in a span of 11 minutes to save a point in the standings.
New York has two players offensively that have been contributing so much to the club this season.
Fans and players alike can always count on the magical abilities of Emmanuel Ledesma. The 29-year-old will be the Cosmos representative for league MVP, and deservedly so. Ledesma has notched 7 goals and 4 assists so far this season. He’s made the NASL Team of the Week five times, and has created 64 chances (most in the NASL).
The Cosmos should feel honored to have a player like Eric Calvillo on the squad. He’s had an impressive start at just 19 years of age; scoring 3 goals and 1 assist with an 89% passing accuracy. Calvillo earned the NASL Player of the Month for July, and is the Cosmos’ selection for Young Player of the Year.
It’s been a tough time for Puerto Rico in the Fall Season, especially after an enormous amount of their games were re-scheduled due to the devastation of Hurricane Maria. PRFC lost all 6 of their league games from Oct. 1 through the 18th. They’ve been rebounding lightly with wins over FC Edmonton and the Indy Eleven.
Just because Puerto Rico sit in last place on the NASL table does not mean they don’t pose a threat to the Cosmos.
The biggest danger to the Cosmos’ backline would be forward Giuseppe Gentile. Gentile has been coming on as a sub for PRFC as of late, but his stats this season are hard to ignore.
Gentile is currently third in the NASL with 5 assists while also providing 4 goals for the club. The Cosmos have to keep Gentile out of the box since 3 of his 4 goals have been scored within the 18-yard frame.
Both Ledesma and Calvillo will have to figure out how to get past defender Conor Doyle in the upcoming fixture. The 26-year-old is having a solid season with 25 won tackles and 35 interceptions. He has created 35 chances as a defender, which is incredible for his position.
The biggest side story of the match is that Cosmos’ Captain Carlos Mendes will be playing his final home game at MCU Park for the blue and green. The 36-year-old is set to retire at the end of the season.
A Happy Captain... pic.twitter.com/6bwT5dgao0— New York Cosmos (@NYCosmos) October 26, 2017
Where/How to Watch
The game is taking place tomorrow, Saturday, October, 28th at 7:00 p.m. (ET). The contest will hopefully be played in front of a packed house at MCU Park in Brooklyn. Catch the game on the MSG Networks.