Cosmos and Silverbacks Play It Safe

In a game that didn’t really matter (unless it matters), and wasn’t significant (unless it is), the New York Cosmos beat the Atlanta Silverbacks 1-0 at Silverbacks Park Saturday night. The two teams meet again this Saturday in the NASL Soccer Bowl championship game.

It’s easy to see why this game didn’t matter. Both teams had already secured their place in the Soccer Bowl. Atlanta locked it up on the Fourth of July, beating Minnesota United to win the NASL Spring Season Championship. The Cosmos clinched the Fall Season Championship with their win over San Antonio one week ago.

With nothing significant riding on the outcome, both coaches played it safe. Of the 22 players the Silverbacks and Cosmos started on October 26, only 4 were in the starting line ups one week later – 3 for Atlanta, 1 for New York. This minimized the possibility than an injury or a red card would affect their team in the championship game. And without their best 11 on the field, the strategy shown by the teams on Saturday night probably had little to do with how they’ll play the Soccer Bowl.

But maybe it does matter to the Silverbacks. Atlanta has now lost three in a row. Their three game home winning streak was snapped – by the team that they’ll be playing for the championship. That’s not how Coach Haynes wanted to conclude the regular season.

And maybe the result is significant for the Cosmos. New York has now won 7 of their last 8 games. They’ve only lost once in the fall, way back in early August when the RailHawks beat them in Carolina. Coach Savarese’s team is on a roll.

Does it matter? Is it significant?

We’ll find out Saturday.

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