Soccer Experts

NYC Soccer Preview: NYCFC Visit Star-Studded Galaxy, Cosmos Face RailHawks

Posted on August 21, 2015

pirlovillaNew York Cosmos vs. Carolina RailHawks -- Saturday, August 22 -- 7:30pm ET -- ONE World Sports/ESPN3

The Cosmos haven't skipped a beat after losing their first NASL match of 2015 last month, racking up three wins and a pair of draws while climbing back to the top of the combined league table. New York will look to extend both their five-game unbeaten run and their two-point advantage over the Ottawa Fury when they take on the RailHawks, who currently sit in sixth after dropping their last two contests.

Giovanni Saverese's side will have a shot at the Fury soon enough—a midweek fixture in Canada awaits the Cosmos following tomorrow's trip to WakeMed Park. But New York won't be overlooking the struggling Railhawks after the wild events of May's 2-2 draw, a match in which the Cosmos netted twice in second-half stoppage time to salvage a point. The visitors will hope to avoid another nervy finish this time around, and the in-form attacking corps of Raúl, Leo Fernandes, and Walter Restrepo will look to break down Carolina's leaky defense. The Cosmos will also feel confident about their midfield and back line with the returns of Marcos Senna and Rovérsio, both of whom saw action in last weekend's 2-1 win over the San Antonio Scorpions. A similar result could very well be on the cards tomorrow night.

New York City FC vs. LA Galaxy -- Sunday, August 23 -- 3pm ET -- ESPN

In one of the MLS season's most-hyped contests, NYCFC will visit the Galaxy for a star-studded clash at StubHub Center. Though midfielder Frank Lampard's status remains questionable, the rest of the Designated Players will be out in full force: David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, Robbie Keane, Steven Gerrard, and Giovani Dos Santos should all make starts on Sunday afternoon. Don't let the marquee names take away from the three points at stake, though—NYCFC currently sit seventh in the Eastern Conference, level on points with the Montreal Impact but one spot below the playoff cut-off line. The boys in blue enter Sunday's game on the back of a 2-2 draw against the Columbus Crew as Kwadwo Poku delivered yet again with an impressive brace. He may not be a DP, but his role in the midfield may just be more important than the work of Pirlo and Villa combined.

LA, meanwhile, have shown their red-hot form with three victories in their last three matches along with several lopsided scorelines. Keane is scoring at the same rate that brought him last year's MVP award, and the additions of Dos Santos, Gerrard, and Sebastian Lletget have Bruce Arena's side looking like an MLS Cup favorite. NYCFC's ambitions may not fall that high, but Jason Kreis and his side will certainly have a playoff bid on their minds. A revamped back line with Angelino and Andoni Iraola has shown improvement—though still prone to defensive mistakes—while Poku and Pirlo have formed a quick partnership in midfield.

The other pieces are starting to fall into place, but consistency has been by far the most elusive quality of NYCFC's campaign. At their best, NYCFC can go toe-to-toe with the Galaxy's offensive juggernaut and clamp down in midfield. At their worst, we know there will be plenty of goals at both ends of the pitch.

Feature photo credit: Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

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