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Cosmos vs. NCFC - Playoffs?

You kidding me? Playoffs?

Forward Eugene Starikov had his chances in the Cosmos’ previous contest
Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The Cosmos take another draw from North Carolina FC this week. Wait, this isn’t the recap.

Yet that is probably a solid guess. New York has tied four times out of their last five fixtures. At the same time, the Cosmos still find themselves in playoff contention. A win tonight could launch the Originals all the way up to second place.

Who to watch for:

North Carolina sit in a similar boat that the Cosmos find themselves in right now. They have the same record except NCFC has one more win to their name than New York. That win proves to be the difference for NCFC as they currently sit in second place on the NASL table.

Another difference maker for North Carolina is their young net minder Brian Sylvestre. The 24-year-old has featured in all 26 contests for NCFC this season. Sylvestre has a solid 73.8 save percentage with 4 clean sheets thus far.

North Carolina FC

Sylvestre’s most memorable fixture this season would be his six-save performance against the San Francisco Deltas. The young goalie faced a variety of shots in that contest, some from point-blank range. The brilliant performance earned him a spot on the NASL Team of the Week.

The Cosmos have to bring out the attacking artillery if they want any point value bigger than one from this contest. Forward Eugene Starikov has been very good for New York off of the bench this season.

The 28-year-old has a very impressive 81.6 passing accuracy percentage this season. He’s been useful all around the pitch for manager Giovanni Savarese. Starikov has won a total of 9 tackles in 18 games played.

One area that Starikov could improve on is his finishing. Last contest saw the Ukrainian squander two glorious chances against the Deltas. His stats suggest the same, as he only has a 4.8% conversion rate. He’s scored 2 goals this season out of 21 shots on target.

Match Prediction:

It seems like the Cosmos can never escape a draw. Either they get a lead early and the opposition comes back, or the Originals themselves are playing catch up for a good portion of the contest.

NCFC’s defence has been very solid for Sylvestre this season as they’ve only concede around 1 goal per game. As mentioned before, the Cosmos need to come prepared to break through the backline of NCFC.

Cosmos fans know about the defensive struggles this year. They’ve conceded around 2 goals per game this season. The backline needs to find something, anything to keep attackers such as Nazmi Albadawi away from New York’s box.

This could be a new start for the Cosmos, or it could be more of the same. A win puts them into playoff contention, but that narrative has been around for a while now. My guess is that the draws do not end here.

NCFC 2 - 2 Cosmos

How to watch:

It’s the final contest of the homestand for the Cosmos at MCU Park. The game is taking place tonight at 7:00 pm (ET). Catch the match on the MSG Networks.