After their scoreless draw against the Deltas, the New York Cosmos travel to face North Carolina FC. Around twenty-four hours after the Champions League Final (In case you’re wondering, I’m predicting Real Madrid to win), New York will begin a strenuous week, where they play three matches in seven days since they rescheduled their match against FC Edmonton in order to travel to Saudi Arabia. In the NASL, The Cosmos are currently on an undefeated streak, having not lost since their home opener against Miami FC. However, if you watch Manchester United you know that being undefeated doesn’t mean much if you’re not winning, and New York have drawn half of their last six. The depth of Savarese’s squad will no doubt be tested in the coming days.
Formerly known as the Carolina Railhawks, North Carolina FC is sitting in third place in the NASL standings after dropping points to the Jacksonville Armada. However, a midweek win against rivals Charlotte Independence sees them advance to the next round of the U.S. Open Cup. It’s no secret that North Carolina FC has MLS ambition, and if it were possible to for a team to earn an MLS spot with their feet, perhaps you’d see them there next season. New York’s defense will especially have to watch out for Lance Liang, who leads his club in both goals and assists.
If you watched last week’s match against the Deltas, you’d know that finishing is one of the biggest problems for this season’s Cosmos. Despite recording eight shots, New York was not able to put a single one on target against their west coast foe. The rumor mill is filled with rumors of bringing in a new striker (Yesterday, we looked at what Totti could bring to New York), but for now, the Cosmos must make due with what they have. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cosmos shake things up and give Irvin Herrera or Kalif Alhassan a chance in the attack.
New York could leapfrog over North Carolina into third place with a win, still with a game in hand. The Cosmos could go top of the table, regardless of other team’s results if they were to not drop points this week. Of course, that is a major if.
Much like the Champions League final, this match could go either way. The Cosmos may eventually drop points this week, but I don’t think it will be today. Not playing a midweek US Open Cup match may help the Cosmos be fresh for the week ahead. 1-0 Cosmos.
New York and North Carolina kick off at 4 pm Sunday at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. The match can be seen on MSG 2 or ESPN 3.