How will coaches Brian Haynes and Giovanni Savarese approach the final game of the season? Will the coaches of the Atlanta Silverbacks and New York Cosmos play their hand, look to make a statement, or play it close to their chest when the NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 opponents meet this weekend? Whatever their approach, it will certainly be intriguing.
The Week 14 preview of this year’s Soccer Bowl sees the recently crowned Fall title-winning Cosmos visit the Spring title winners Atlanta at Silverbacks Park on Saturday at 7:30 pm ET. Seven days later, live on ESPN3 and ESPN Deportes, they will meet for NASL Soccer Bowl 2013 glory.
Currently on a 10-game unbeaten streak, the Cosmos, who are visiting the state of Georgia for the first time in 32 years, took on the Silverbacks last month as the teams battled to a 1-1 draw at Hofstra University.
The Silverbacks, who have lost their last two matches, return home where they are unbeaten in their last four while winning three consecutive games. Momentum is something they need to build heading into NASL Soccer Bowl 2013.
“This weekend we need to get back on track because we’ve lost two games in a row,” said Silverbacks coach, Brian Haynes. “All we need to do now is concentrate on us, not who we’re playing, but us. The upside to our next couple of games is that we’ve won our last three games at home.
“We need to have that confidence going to the games and we can’t just expect to show up and play well. We need to know what it takes to win a game.”
Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese also added: “We're going to continue to work and prepare like we have all season. We're focusing on this weekend and going to put out the players that need to be there. We're still taking this week by week, game by game.”
All four NASL Week 14 games this Saturday kick off at 7.30pm ET, with the Carolina RailHawks closing out 2013 by putting their 15-game home unbeaten streak (NASL and U.S. Open Cup games) on the line against the San Antonio Scorpions at WakeMed Soccer Park.
Also potentially at stake in Carolina will be the race for the NASL Golden Boot – the league’s top goal scorer in 2013 – as RailHawks forward Brian Shriver currently leads with 13 goals. He could go head to head on Saturday with Scorpions strikers Hans Denissen, who is tied for second place along with Tampa Bay Rowdies’ Georgi Hristov, with 12 goals.
Minnesota forward Pablo Campos trails the leaders with 11 goals and will have a chance to increase his total when United FC visits the Tampa Bay Rowdies at Al Lang Stadium on Saturday evening.
The 7:30 pm ET match-up will also be a battle of the last two NASL champions; Minnesota (2011 winner) and Tampa Bay (2012). Currently on a seven-game unbeaten streak at home, the Rowdies have not beaten United in a regular season match at Al Lang Stadium since June 2012.
“Well, we have a long history with Tampa, they have a good team and have played well this year,” said United coach, Manny Lagos. “I expect the game to be competitive and for both teams to put their best effort forward. We had a good result last week and we want to continue that momentum to finish the season strong.”
Saturday’s Fall Season concludes with two other teams aiming to finish on a high note as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers host FC Edmonton at Lockhart Stadium at 7:30 pm ET.
The Eddies, who at the moment have surrendered just a 1.00 GAA per game for a second consecutive season, faces a Strikers team boasting a five-game unbeaten streak against the Canadian club.
“We're looking to build on a terrific performance and win against a quality Tampa Bay side,” said FC Edmonton coach, Colin Miller, whose side defeated Tampa Bay 2-1 last Sunday and drew 1-1 at New York the week before. “We now come to Fort Lauderdale who is a much improved side and we'll have a difficult task ahead of us. We will be going for three points because we know the significance of it in the standings. There will be no complacency allowed.”
Strikers coach Günter Kronsteiner also commented: “We want to finish with a win, especially at home. I know they (Edmonton) are doing very well. They played away against the Cosmos and had a draw and then they won at home against Tampa, so they are on their way up and with a lot of confidence. We had a pretty good season already with everything we’ve gone through, but to end with a win would be good.”
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|New York Cosmos||14||9||4||1||10||31|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||14||5||5||4||3||20|
|Minnesota United FC||14||6||2||6||2||20|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||14||5||3||6||-2||18|
|San Antonio Scorpions||14||3||1||10||-9||10|
|San Antonio Scorpions||12||6||2||4||4||20|
|Tampa Bay Rowdies||12||5||3||4||5||18|
|Minnesota United FC||12||4||2||6||-5||14|
|Fort Lauderdale Strikers||12||2||2||8||-14||8|