Ahead of Sunday's big clash against the New York Cosmos, Dirty South Soccer got in touch with SB Nation's Cosmos blog to discuss their team and give you a better feel for the opponent. We asked Steven Schmidt of Twice A Cosmo three questions. In return, they also asked three questions about the Silverbacks, you can see that piece here. Make sure to check it out. Also, give them a follow on Twitter: @TwiceACosmo
DSS: The Cosmos went undefeated in the spring (clenching a playoff spot in the process) but haven't been as dominating in the fall. Any concerns for team as the playoffs get closer?
Twice A Cosmo: My biggest concern when the Cosmos' season kicked off was the age of some key players within the squad, as well as the injury history of several core guys. It always seemed likely that Gio Savarese was going to have to rotate quite a bit as the season progressed, both to avoid the injury crisis that the club suffered from last season, and to keep older players such as Raul and Marcos Senna fresh and playing well.
The spring really highlighted the Cosmos at their best, and it's not surprising that they looked that way coming off of a winter of rest, and with matches taking place only once per week. That said, the squad hasn't looked nearly as strong this fall, especially when Roversio (who would be the best center back in MLS) isn't available due to his chronic leg issues. The biggest concerns are the fitness and freshness of Raul, Senna, and Roversio. If that trio is good to go come playoff time, New York is probably the heavy favorite, regardless of who or where they play.
DSS: Raúl and Marcos Senna were a big draw when the Cosmos traveled to Atlanta earlier this year. Who are some of the young players on the squad that have been impressive this year alongside these big names?
Twice A Cosmo: A number of young players have impressed for New York this season, though not all of them are still with the club. Lucky Mkosana has become one of the best forwards int he NASL, and was somewhat of an unknown prior to the season kicking off. Leo Fernandes has spent the season on loan from Philadelphia, and been a key goalscoring threat from the wing. Walter Restrepo was widely regarded as one of the best wide forwards in the league before joining the Cosmos, and has looked even better this season with more talented teammates surrounding him.
Haji Wright has also looked more and more dangerous as the season has progressed, though he's now in Chile with the U17 side, and is quite likely to head to Europe this winter. Ruben Bover has also improved by leaps and bounds during the course of the season, and looks like he could be a regular for the boys in green next season.
DSS: In that match, the two sides played to a scoreless draw. Since then, the Silverbacks have gone through a number of personnel and formation changes. What will be different with the cosmos this time around?
Twice A Cosmo: I'd imagine you'll see two very different Cosmos' lineups in the next two matches, given that it's an older side scheduled for three matches in seven days. That rotation has led to some up and down performances, and I'd expect that trend to continue, with Savarese's group looking a bit more vulnerable than they have in the past.
That said, I'd expect the club to start playing a regular lineup again following the match at Hofstra midweek, as the once per week fixture list along with the approaching playoffs should see the coaching staff getting the group geared up for the semifinals.