New York finds themselves in their 4th Soccer Bowl Finals in the past five years. Different teams have stepped up to the plate against the Cosmos, but none have prevailed.
This year, it’s the San Francisco Deltas’ turn to try to strip the crown from the Cosmos.
Similar to Miami FC, the Deltas have been up to the task when playing New York this season. The two clubs have beaten each other once and have drawn twice. What also correlates to Miami is the danger that the Deltas present.
San Francisco enjoy playing a tight defensive game. They rely on the defense to spring the offense forward on the counter. Also worth noting is that the Deltas haven’t scored more than 3 goals in one match this season.
They continued the trend in the Semifinals against North Carolina FC as a 40 minute breakthrough from Tyler Gibson propelled San Fran to the Finals.
The Cosmos have struggled when traveling to San Francisco this season. The bad news is that the Deltas will host the Cosmos at Kezar Stadium in the Championship.
But worry not. We’re here to take an in-depth look at the Deltas’ key players and their formation. Once November 12th hits, Giovanni Savarese and the rest of the Cosmos can tune right into Twice A Cosmo to prepare their quest to lift another Soccer Bowl. Let’s scout the San Francisco Deltas.
To start off the low-scoring attack of the Deltas would be Thomas Heinemann. Heinemann joined the Deltas on a free transfer from the Tampa Bay Rowdies this past season.
The American has been consistent in his NASL scoring. Heinemann amassed 14 goals in two seasons with the Ottawa Fury, and 4 tallies with the Rowdies. He’s continued the scoring for the Deltas with a team-leading 8 goals this season.
The center forward stands at 6’4’’, which likely makes it easier for midfielders to pick him out. The 30-year-old found solid form towards the end of the season, with 3 goals and 1 assist in the final 6 games.
Joining Heinemann in the attack is winger Pablo Dyego. Dyego is on loan from Brazilian side Fluminense.
The young winger has made his impression in just a short amount of time with the Deltas. He’s scored 5 goals and 1 assist this season, and is noted for his blinding pace to get past defenders.
The Brazilian has been featured on the Team of the Week twice, and has been the Player of the Week one time this season. In return, Dyego is one of two Deltas nominees for the NASL Golden Ball and is also a candidate for the Young Player of the Year.
Supplying attackers like Heinemann and Dyego in the midfield is Kyle Bekker. Bekker brings an enormous amount of MLS experience to the Deltas lineup. He was drafted out of Boston College by Toronto FC, and also made appearances with the Montreal Impact and FC Dallas.
The veteran of the Canadian National Team is stable for San Francisco with his goals and assists. Bekker has totaled 4 goals and 5 assists this season, including a crucial assist to Gibson’s game winner in the Semis. Bekker has created 40 chances this season which puts him in the top ten for that category.
The defense of the Deltas round out their style of play. Take out their embarrassing loss to Miami by the score of 7-0, and they have only conceded just above 20 goals as a team.
San Francisco has two solid defenders in Bryan Burke and Patrick Hopkins.
Hopkins’ most impressive performance came in Week 4 of the Fall Season when he scored a goal and made 10 clearances against NCFC. Burke on the other hand, was developed as a defenseman, but he can also play in the midfield. The 28-year-old notched 2 goals against Puerto Rico FC late in the Fall Season.
The most impressive player defensively is goalkeeper Romuald Peiser. Peiser is the other goalkeeper along with Miami keeper Daniel Vega for the Golden Ball.
The Frenchman has made 66 saves this season while posting a 68.42 save percentage. He’s kept his GAA at an impressive 1.03, while notching 12 clean sheets in this campaign. His clean sheet total is good for second in the NASL.
Of course, this is only a portion of what the Deltas have to offer. Players such as Reiner Ferreira, Devon Sandoval and Cristian Portilla all pose a threat to the game of the Cosmos.
The Deltas have ran a 3-3-4-1 in the past, but don’t be surprised is they switch it up to something like a 4-1-4-2 to stabilize the backline.
The Deltas generally try to pressure up the field and then jump back when the opposition has the ball. They’re really good at clogging the passing lanes and forcing turnovers, something New York really has to look out for.
The Cosmos really have to play their own game. The last thing the Originals want to do is get caught on the break considering the speed the Deltas have on the break. I suspect New York will have an edge in possession numbers in this one. The Deltas don’t want to rely too much on the conservative game, especially with the Cardiac Cosmos success in the penalties.