June 14th is three days away, yet, for the New York Cosmos, it cannot come quick enough. Why, you ask, is that date so special, well, the answer is simple, it is the day the New York Red Bulls visit the Cosmos at James M. Shuart Stadium for a cross-town match-up.
On Saturday, the 2013 Major League Soccer Supporters’ Shield Winners, the Red Bulls, visit the Cosmos for a fourth round match-up in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on the campus of Hofstra University. There are many MLS Clubs and fans that believe the U.S.Open Cup is not a priority; however, to North American Soccer League teams and lower division clubs, this is a very big deal. The Cosmos have had this day marked on their calendar for weeks and they are not going to take this game lightly.
The U.S. Open Cup involves eighty teams from across the United States and involves amateur teams as well as MLS Clubs. The winning club receives $250,000 and an automatic bid to the CONCACAF Champions League. The Cosmos are the 2013 Soccer Bowl Champions of the NASL, yet, their only chance, and the only chance for other NASL Clubs to be invited to the CCL is to win the U.S. Open Cup.
The Battle for New York Soccer Supremacy
The Red Bulls enter Saturday’s match coming off an impressive 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution, but, more importantly, they will play the Cosmos without five of their key players, including Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill and Louis Robles will not start in net as Ryan Meara will get the starting nod for this match.
The Red Bulls will be facing a very hungry Cosmos team that is talented and coming off a pretty successful Spring Season in the NASL. The Red Bulls may be playing the match without their star keeper, but, for the Cosmos, their outstanding keeper, Jimmy Maurer will be playing. The Cosmos have a solid club that shows by the stat sheets as goals and assists are spread out equally among the players. The Cosmos are led by Mads Stokkelien who leads the team with three goals and three assists during the NASL Spring Season. Stokkelien is joined by mid-fielder Sebastian Varena who had a great spring season as well tallying two goals and two assists. On defense, Hunter Freeman solidifies a back line that is strong and capable of keeping the Red Bulls at bay this coming Saturday.
New York City and the surrounding area have become a hot-bed for soccer with many amateur clubs as well as professional clubs including the Red Bulls, Cosmos and MLS expansion club NYCFC. Fans of soccer and especially the Red Bulls and Cosmos are ecstatic about the up- coming match between the two clubs. Both teams had an outstanding 2013 campaign and look to continue the success by advancing within the tournament.
If the Cosmos are able to defeat the Red Bulls, it would be a testament to how well NASL talent is and it would also add to the aura of the Cosmos and remind everyone about the importance of the Cosmos when it comes to soccer in America.
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