The New York Originals may not have won since July, but somehow they still remain in contention for a play-off berth. A victory tonight at MCU Park in their fourth and final match-up with the San Fransisco Deltas will see them leapfrog into fourth place in the Fall Standings, while joining the Deltas on 35 points and second place in the combined table.
Are the Deltas Cardiac Kryptonite?
The Cosmos strength this year (once again) has been their ability to play themselves back into contests in the last few minutes of the game. In fact they have scored fourteen times in the final fourteen minutes of games in the NASL this season.
On the other hand, the Deltas have been excellent at locking games down late, conceding only three times all season in the the same timeframe.
Meanwhile, the Cosmos weakness of late has been set pieces, and this is a department where the Deltas can pose danger, especially if the hulking figure of six-foot-four top-scorer Tommy Heinemann gets the nod.
Who to watch out for:
Tommy Heinemann, as mentioned, has led the line most consistently this year with six goals, but Pablo Dyego has been hot of late, having picked up a brace against Indy in San Fransisco’s most recent performance. While the Deltas lost creative midfielder Christian Portilla to a season-ending ACL tear, Tyler Gibson has also also been known to contribute assists from his holding midfield role. At the back, frenchman Romauld Peiser has been ever-present between the sticks, and consistent, with nine clean sheets (despite conceding ten goals in the space of a week to Miami at the end of the Spring season...)
It is worth noting that the Deltas have not played since September 2nd in Indianapolis. Games scheduled in Miami for September 9th and 16th were both postponed in the wake of Hurricane Irma, while the Cosmos have played three games in that period. The Cosmos will likely still be high on adrenaline after two consecutive cardiac comebacks, so their sharpness could make all the difference.
The Deltas have largely struggled to find goals this season, and the Cosmos have also been thwarted against the Deltas. The two teams share four goals over their three meetings this season, so a low scoring affair is not out of the question.
However, the Cosmos now have a variety of attacking options and a bench coiled to strike. With so many goals in the last two games and the Deltas likely rusty after a near three-week layoff, this could finally be the occasion on which the Cosmos turn their dominant early possession into a healthy lead. However, I’ll still be on the edge of my seat at every defensive set piece...
Prediction: Cosmos 3-1 Deltas
Kick-off is at 7:30pm, tonight Wednesday 20th September at MCU Park, with the game showing live on beIN Sports