By MIKE GRAMAJO
After failing to clinch the NASL Fall Season title last week, the New York Cosmos will have another chance to put the season to bed when they visit Toyota Field to battle the San Antonio Scorpios on Saturday (8:30 p.m. WATCH HERE).
“We want to spoil their party,” Scorpions interim coach Alen Marcina told NASL.com. “For us, this is our championship game. To be the best you have to beat the best. This is an opportunity to show our fans that we want to close out with our fourth win in a row at home, and again spoil the Cosmos’ party.”
The Scorpions look to use their three-match unbeaten streak at home to their advantage, especially against a Cosmos side that suffered a late-game collapse, which saw them tie against FC Edmonton 1-1 the week prior.
Despite not being able to close out the season last Sunday, Giovanni Savarese’s men will finally have the luxury of having one of his veteran strikers available from the start. Alessandro Noselli, who has scored in back-to-back games, was seen training with the first-team unit and is a possibility to start on Saturday.
Here’s a closer look at the NASL Week 13 slate:
MUST-WIN SCENARIO, ROWDIES VISIT EDDIES (Sunday, 4:00 p.m. WATCH HERE)
Since the moment they snapped their great start in the fall season, the Tampa Bay Rowdies saw the rest of the season as a mountain to climb
While the Rowdies have to wait on Saturday’s results to see if they’re still in the race for a Soccer Bowl spot, it’s a must-win game for Ricky Hill’s men when they take on FC Edmonton at Clarke Stadium.
“Our main objective for the last four games of the season has been to accumulate 12 points and we are halfway there,” Rowdies coach Ricky Hill told NASL.com. “Everyone’s focus and determination has been excellent thus far in our preparation and come Sunday we are going to try to earn another three points.”
A two-game winning streak has paid late-season dividends for the Rowdies side as it has kept the pressure on the first-place Cosmos.
RAILHAWKS EYE PERFECTION AT HOME (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. WATCH HERE)
With the Soccer Bowl out of the reach, the Carolina RailHawks look to remain unbeaten in 2013 at home when they welcome the Atlanta Silverbacks to WakeMed Soccer Park.
“Carolina are a very good team at home and every time we go on the road, I’m always thinking that we’re going to steal some points,” Silverbacks coach Brian Haynes told NASL.com. “They haven’t lost a game at their place, and I would love to break their streak. It’s going to take a lot of concentration and work to make that happen, and Colin [Clarke] always prepares his team well.”
The rivalry between both clubs dates back to the Spring Season, when the Silverbacks stripped the RailHawks from the spring championship at the last week after it looked like the Colin Clarke’s men would be the team to host the Soccer Bowl.
MINNESOTA AND STRIKERS DUEL AT NSC (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. WATCH HERE)
Minnesota United FC look to snap their three-game losing streak and have to do so against a Fort Lauderdale Strikers side that’s thirsty for goals at the National Sports Center Stadium.
“We really have played well at home the last couple games and haven’t won and haven’t scored,” United coach Manny Lagos told NASL.com “There is a lot of tension and stress for us to do well at home, we know it has been an issue this year, we really want to finish strong for our fans and our team and for next year.”
While Manny Lagos’ men look for an answer to snap their horrid skid, they’ll have to answer to a Strikers side that scored a season-high six goals in a 6-2 thrashing of the Atlanta Silverbacks. On-loan from FC Dallas duo goalkeeper Richard Sanchez and forward Bradlee Baladez have been the main catalysts for the Strikers since arriving in South Florida.
What do you think of the Week 13 slate? Do you see the Cosmos clinching on Saturday? Can the Rowdies take a victory from Edmonton? Do you believe the RailHawks can remain unbeaten at home?
Share your thoughts below.