Even though the SA Scorpions have no chance of winning the NASL championship, tomorrow’s 8:30 p.m. game at Toyota Field against the New York Cosmos is crucial for many reasons:
1 - Historically, it will be the first time the second incarnation of the legendary Cosmos play in San Antonio in 32 years (when they were part of the original North American Soccer League with a superb team led by Pelé, Franz Beckenbauer, Giorgio Chinaglia and other international stars).
2 - The first-place Cosmos need to win to make sure they'll go to the NASL Soccer Bowl at Spring Season winners Atlanta Silverbacks on November 9.
3 – The Scorpions want revenge: after suffering a stoppage-time loss in NY earlier, they want to spoil the party for the New Yorkers and extend their unbeaten home streak to four games.
4 – There’s a rampant rumor going on: officials from Major League Soccer will be on the stands. If this is true, it will be either to see whether the Cosmos are in good form for a potential move to the MLS or, better yet: they want to see whether the Scorpions fans will fill out the stadium and confirm their status as the most loyal, biggest, and baddest group of fans in the NASL. There are still a few tickets left, and you can buy them here. But so far that’s all there is: a rumor. “I also heard that rumor but I can’t confirm or deny, I honestly don’t know anything about it,” Scorpions’ press officer Preston Petri told the Current. “But this is a very special game for us and we’ve been pushing it very aggressively.”
It won’t be easy for the Scorpions to beat New York: the Cosmos is pissed off, after failing to win the Fall season last week when they conceded a stoppage-time goal against FC Edmonton. But wouldn’t it be sweet if we make things even worse for them by beating them? I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to see no New Yorker celebrating on our pitch, dammit. For that, fans need to fill the stadium, and they’ll probably will.
The bad part: the Cosmos can still make it to the final even if they draw or lose against the Scorpions, provided second-placed Tampa Bay Rowdies can’t win at FC Edmonton on Sunday. But New York (unbeaten in nine games) won’t take any chances.
“This weekend is a semi-final for us, said Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese in NASL press materials. “We need to win to make it to the championship. The guys have been training hard and are ready for San Antonio. It's going to be a very tough game for us.”
SA knows that and will go for the win.
“We want to spoil their party,” said Scorpions interim coach Alen Marcina, who seemed to have turned the team’s fortunes around after a disastrous season. “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."
I shouldn’t tell you this, but the Scorpions-Cosmos game will also air locally live on Me-TV-KSAT 12.2 and on Spanish Radio via 102.03 FM-San Antonio and Radio Formula 1500 AM Boerne. But c'mon: be there in person, make a lot of noise and don't let the Cosmos celebrate in our faces.
Now, if after reading this you still have no clue as to who the Cosmos are, go the the next page and watch the complete (and superb) Cosmos documentary about the early golden years of U.S. professional soccer.
Can’t have enough? Go to the next page and watch highlights from the historic Argentina-Cosmos game of 1979. Argentina (without Diego Maradona) had won the 1978 World Cup, but this time they had a young Maradona, who would go on to win the 1986 World Cup and become the greatest player of his generation (to some, the greatest ever).