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Soccer Bowl 2017: Individual Matchups

Who wins based off of positional battles?


In the previous article, we took an in-depth look at what the San Francisco Deltas have to offer. Their key players have been identified, and now it’s time to see how they stack up against the New York Cosmos crucial threats.

It should be a very interesting contest between the Deltas and Cosmos. The resilient defensive work of San Fran against the constant offensive pressing of the Cosmos.

Individual matchups are going to be crucial in this contest. Who’s going to stop the MVP candidate in Emmanuel Ledesma? Who is going to try to break the wall of Patrick Hopkins and Bryan Burke?

In this piece, we’re going to lineup two critical players against one another to see who gives their respective team an advantage at glory. Let’s get started, shall we?

Jimmy Maurer (GK) vs. Romuald Peiser

The battle at goalkeeper is likely the most basic on the pitch, but it’s going to be crucial in determining who wins this game.

What’s a bit awkward between both Maurer and Peiser is that they put up similar stats, but only one is up for the NASL Golden Boot.

Let’s start with the Originals shot-stopper. If were going to be honest, Maurer has been bailing the Cosmos out all season long. His stats don’t necessarily reflect some of the performances he’s had on the field.

The 29-year-old has started in 25 games this season. Maurer has conceded 37 goals this season, while posting 67.3 save to shot ratio. 33 clearances have been the norm for Maurer this season; 13 of them have been punches away.

Maurer has put up 6 clean sheet performances in the campaign. A really interesting stat to throw out is that 4 of those 6 blanks have been against opposition that made the playoffs.

Even though the American didn’t receive a nomination for an NASL award, he’s still attracting attention from other North American clubs. Maurer, out of all keepers, was called up by FC Dallas as an emergency reinforcement for the MLS side.

To switch sides of the pitch, Peiser is one of the two goalies up for league MVP. The 30-year-old has been crucial in keeping the Deltas as one of the lowest conceding teams in the league.

In 29 starts, Peiser has made 66 saves and has posted a 68.42 save percentage (close to that of Maurer’s). He’s snatched a spot on the Team of the Week three times, and his 1.03 GAA suggests so.

What separates Peiser from Maurer is his 12 cleans sheets, which is good for second in the league.

To give a slight edge to either on of these keepers seems unfair. They have both put up impressive campaigns. It’s going to be very difficult to put one past these two correlating keepers.

Emmanuel Ledesma (MF) vs. Kyle Bekker (MF)

If I’m being honest, this isn’t really a competition. I’m not just going to favor Ledesma because I’m a homer, but that stats definitely don’t lie in this scenario. It’s hard to pick out even one midfielder from San Francisco that compares to what Ledesma offers.

Maybe it will be better to start off with Bekker. The Canadian has made 22 appearances this season. He’s amassed 5 goals and 3 assists in both the NASL and the U.S. Open Cup.

His 40 shots are good for top ten in the NASL at the moment. Bekker has also been very solid with the Canadian National Team, while bringing his MLS experience along for the ride.

Empire of Soccer

Ledesma, in 19 appearances, has notched 10 goals and 6 assists. Number 18 converts 25 percent of the shots he takes on net. The 29-year-old has created a sublime 73 chances for the Cosmos this season.

Not impressed yet? Ledesma is top five in the league in four respective categories. Goals, assists, chances created and total crosses all feature Ledesma’s name towards the top of the list. The midfielder has made the Team of the Week five times, and is surely on the list for the MVP. I can’t find another candidate more deserving of the Golden Ball then Ledesma.

Point is that two players at the least have to watch Ledesma. The Deltas love clogging the passing lanes, but with how clutch Ledesma is, he’ll likely find a way to impact the game.

Eugene Starikov (FW) vs. Pablo Dyego (FW)

One of the more interesting battles on the pitch will be that of the attack. Both sides of attack will face stern tests in the stubborn keepers, but these two forwards seem to find a niche when bulging the back of the net.

The most surprising thing to me on the Cosmos is the lack of starts that Starikov gets. Out of 25 appearances, 12 have been starts. The Ukrainian definitely deserves quality playing time in my eyes.

Whenever Starikov hits the pitch, the difference he makes is very noticeable. He’s scored 4 goals and 1 assist this season, along with 10 chances created. His passing is one of the most sharp on the club; Starikov currently has an 82.4 percent passing accuracy.

His play in all areas of the pitch is very impressive. The 28-year-old has won 13 tackles, 77 duels, and also has 8 interceptions. Fans will always remember the game-winning penalty to put away Miami FC in the playoffs.

Players from loan seem to have the narrative of being less impacting. They make their occasional appearance from the bench and put in a impressive performance or two. Dyego on the other hand has broken that process this season.

The Brazilian was loaned to the Deltas by Fluminense FC, and his impact for the Californian club might force the Deltas to try to keep him around longer.

The 23-year-old has taken complete advantage of an older NASL league by using his blistering pace to blow past opposition. In the process, Dyego has notched 5 goals and 1 assist. His Player and Team of the Week nominations have resulted in Dyego receiving honors for both the Golden Ball and the NASL Young Player of the Year.

Starikov makes his impact on the pitch, but he has such a short duration of time to do it. Dyego has the whole game on his feet to make a difference, which is why the young winger is given an edge over the Cosmos’ attacker.


Who wins based off of these matchups?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    San Francisco Deltas
    (2 votes)
  • 75%
    New York Cosmos
    (6 votes)
8 votes total Vote Now

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