Preview: Cosmos and United battle for top spot

Minnesota United – New York Cosmos

Major Themes:

  • Minnesota United enters the match with serious opportunities within their grasp. Tied with Ottawa for the fall lead, a win allows them to stay competitive for the fall title and may put them in the lead, pending the outcome of the Fury-Strikers match. In the bigger picture, a win ties them with New York on the combined table and goal differential would put them in first place. They enter the match riding a seven-game undefeated streak, of which they’ve won five and have only been defeated at home once in ten games this year.
  • The stakes for New York are just as high. With their ticket to the playoffs already punched, their focus has been on keeping control of the combined table, a lead now threatened by United. While not nearly as important, a win could also create a three-way tie at the top of the fall table. The Cosmos bounced back from their worst performance of the season with a home shut out of Jacksonville in challenging weather conditions last weekend. Now, the Cosmos face a more difficult challenge, playing United on the road. They have managed only two road wins since the season opener with a 2-7-2 record, and barely escaped the National Sports Center Stadium with a point in their last match.
  • This should be an incredible match. League’s best offense (MNU) against one of the best defenses (NYC). Cosmos still trying to find their footing with a close win after their last loss. Minnesota thrust into a difficult game after a midweek match. And the 3-4-0 advantage the Cosmos hold over United in their series history. All the makings of a fantastic battle up north.

Last Time:

The Cosmos come from behind to grab a 2-1 win at home.

Keep An Eye On:

  • Raul – With a bad game in Tampa sandwiched in between, Raul has had solid performances against Carolina and Jacksonville (with a goal in each) and delivered a heartbreaker to the Minnesota faithful in stoppage time during the last Cosmos away trip.
  • Gaston Cellerino – Big man. The newest member to join the organization finally made his debut against the Armada and the only thing missing was the goal. He brings a physical side to the front line that the Cosmos have not seen this year and could be very instrumental in the final dash to the playoffs.
  • Christian Ramirez – After his scoring streak came to an end, the guns mostly cooled off, but he’s factored in the scoring with a goal and an assist across his last two games. He also scored in his last match against the Cosmos and their back line will surely be on the watch for him.
  • Kevin Venegas – With a goal and assist over the last two games, his contribution to the offense is undeniable as well as his defensive ability. In his last outing against the Cosmos, Minnesota kept them on the back foot until the he was forced out by injury. Upon his exit, the momentum changed and New York ended up with the three points. His contributions on Saturday could be key to the outcome.
  • Fireworks – “I went to a fight the other night and a soccer game broke out.” The United roster has not been very united in recent times with visible discord on the field and stories of more from the locker room.

You Probably Won’t See:

  • Adam Moffat – After staking a claim as the primary holding mid for the Cosmos, a tackle on Moffat last week knocked him out of the match. Head coach Giovanni Savarese has disclosed that Moffat snapped a muscle on top of his foot and will be unavailable this week.
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