NASL’s postseason kicks off on Saturday on Coney Island as the Fort Lauderdale Strikers take on the hated New York Cosmos. The unique NASL postseason format offers no second chances for the four teams that qualify – win or you are out. The Strikers will be without Dani Sanchez a cultured wide player for the match and could be without PC, whose versatility and complimentary attacking play has been missing from the Strikers attack the last few weeks since he went down with injury.
Fort Lauderdale have never beaten New York in the modern era of both clubs, but on paper this match is very even. The Strikers boast in Marlon Freitas and Stefano Pinho two of the best attacking players in NASL. New York, by contrast has found trouble consistently scoring goals this season though last Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Tampa Bay (a result ironically which helped the Strikers qualify for the postseason) was a convincing performance. The Cosmos have also had defensive problems at times, but have lost just once in three seasons at home.
The Cosmos feature two legends of Spanish Football, Raul and Marcos Senna. Both will retire following this season, so if Fort Lauderdale wins today, this will be the final competitive match for the duo. Fort Lauderdale also faces an uncertain future as several top players are either on loan from bigger clubs or in the final days of their contracts. Head Coach Günter Kronsteiner is in the same boat as the club has not yet publicly committed to retaining the popular manager.
Controversially, PRO Referees who assign match officials have given Sorin Stoica responsibility for this match. Stoica, one of the most card happy referees in the US pro game is an unpopular choice among fans of both teams.
We will have full coverage here after the game which kicks off at 2pm ET and can be seen on ESPN3 and One World Sports nationally. For those of you in southeast Florida, WSFL (CH 39) will have live coverage of the match.