By MIKE GRAMAJO
Looking to remain at the peak of the North American Soccer League standings, the New York Cosmos face another big test on Sunday evening (5:00 p.m. WATCH HERE).
The Cosmos host the Tampa Bay Rowdies at James Shuart Stadium, with first place in the league on the line. While the Cosmos are currently on a five game unbeaten streak, the Rowdies look to pose as a bigger threat, as they’re currently the only unbeaten side in the fall.
“Tampa Bay are a strong team, it’s a team that we know what they are capable of,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese told SBI. “They have a good coach and they haven’t lost a game. For us again it’s another final that we have to play and we’re ready.
“At home especially we want to be strong and we want to make sure that teams that come to play against us at home always have a difficult time.”
Ricky Hill’s men took a 3-1 home victory over the Atlanta Silverbacks last week, which kept the Rowdies trailing the first-place Cosmos by one point in the standings, who took their first road victory of the season after defeating the Fort Lauderdale Strikers, 2-0.
Both clubs met in August, which resulted in a scoreless draw at Al Lang Stadium.
Here’s a closer look at this weekend’s NASL matchups:
SCORPIONS VISIT UNITED (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. WATCH HERE)
Fresh off their first victory of the fall campaign, the San Antonio Scorpions look to build from that when they battle Minnesota United FC at the National Sports Center Stadium.
Minnesota United, who sits in fourth place in the standings, gave FC Edmonton their first defeat at home this season after taking a 2-1 victory.
Meanwhile, the Scorpions looks like the team with the firepower, as they bolster an attack duo that has a combined 18 goals. Forward Hans Denissen is currently tied in the Golden Boot race with 12 goals, however, it’s Tomasz Zahorksi’s numbers that are impressive, scoring six times in his last eight games.
RAILHAWKS EYE PERFECT RUN AT HOME (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. WATCH HERE)
Despite being four games without a victory, the Carolina RailHawks look to end that drought when they welcome the Fort Lauderdale Strikers to WakeMed Soccer Park.
Colin Clarke’s men suffered a gruesome 2-1 away defeat to last place San Antonio Scorpions last week, a game that was played without their leading goal scorer, Brian Shriver and his 12 goals this year.
The Strikers are another side that look to bounce back from defeat, especially after ending their five-game unbeaten streak last week. However, goalkeeper Richard Sanchez, on-loan from FC Dallas, has been the catalyst for the South Florida side, having three shutouts this season.
SILVERBACKS AND EDDIES CONTINUE PUSH FOR FALL TITLE (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. WATCH HERE)
Although they have failed to win on the road this year, FC Edmonton continue their push for a Soccer Bowl bid when they visit the Atlanta Silverbacks at Atlanta Silverbacks Park.
The Eddies look to edge closer to the Silverbacks, who trail them by three points. While Briann Haynes’ men tasted defeat for the second time this fall season, an Atlanta victory will only damper Edmonton’s chances of finishing near the top.
What do you think of Week 9? Do you think the Cosmos will be at the Soccer Bowl? Will the Scorpions regain their winning ways at United? Do you think the RailHawks still have a chance to winning the fall season? Do you see the Eddies winning at Atlanta?
Share your thoughts below.