There is extra electricity and excitement in the air as the New York Cosmos prepare for their upcoming fourth round U.S. Open Cup match against the New York Red Bulls. This is more than just a regular season soccer match. This is a chance for the Cosmos and their players to make a statement.
“These games are special games,” Head Coach Giovanni Savarese said. “I think these games allow soccer to grow in New York and they’re very important.”
Savarese is one of several Cosmos who used to be associated with the Red Bulls and they all have something to prove to the MLS team about their abilities.
The players on the Cosmos are all eager to show what they can do. “It’s awesome. It’s always great to play in a big game, U.S. Open Cup, the MLS team, the local Red Bulls, it’s really exciting,” goalie Jimmy Maurer said. “Hopefully the fans really come out and it’s a great time for everybody.”
The Cosmos are a confident bunch. They do not seem at all intimidated by the fact that the Red Bulls represent the MLS.
“Of course we can beat them. We’ve got a lot of guys with a lot of talent,” Maurer added. “We have guys who have played in MLS, guys from abroad, other guys who are young and coming up. We’ve got all different kinds of guys, we can definitely beat them. In soccer, any team can win on any given day…anything can always happen. I feel good about our chances. We’re ready, we have a great squad.”
There is plenty at stake Saturday night. In addition to advancing to the 5th round of the U.S. Open Cup, this is the Cosmos chance to compete for a spot I the CONCACAF Champions League and to win local bragging rights.
Defender Hunter Freeman, who formerly played with Red Bulls, knows beating their regional rivals won’t be easy. “You have a lot of us who have been with Red Bulls…so it’s probably a little bit sweeter for us… They’re a good team. They’re a team that will punish you if you give them the chance. We have to still be tight defensively, be a little more clinical on the other end and hopefully if we do those things for 90 minutes, we can get the result that we want.”
As always, injuries will be a factor Saturday night. Roversio and Diomar Diaz are questionable for the Cosmos as is Marcos Senna who has sat out the past two NASL games with a groin injury. The Cosmos may also have striker Hans Denissen available as a late-game substitute for the first time this season. Meanwhile, the Red Bulls will be without defender Jameson Olave and forward Thierry Henry, because neither of them play games on artificial turf.
A win for the Cosmos would give the defending NASL champions regional bragging rights and Cosmos fans another reason for pride.
In advance of the game, coach Savarese is already starting to get inside the head of his opponent. “I feel that there is more pressure on the Red Bulls,” the Cosmos coach said. “I don’t think we have anything to lose and that makes it a lot better for us.”
The game gets under way Saturday at 8:15 at Shuart Stadium on the campus of Hofstra University. This first ever “Battle for Big Apple Soccer Supremacy” promises to be a special night for all area soccer fans.
For more information on the New York Cosmos and for tickets to the Cosmos v Red Bulls match fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here: