As the Spring Season comes to a close, two nearly inevitable facts have come into play. The Cosmos control their own destiny, and the top of the table is as packed as the G train on a Friday evening. Let’s have a look at the current table, and who doesn’t have a shot at the title going into the final two weeks.
Edmonton’s surprising loss to Miami sees them fall out of contention despite an impressive showing this Spring, while a late resurgence by Tampa and Fort Lauderdale has vaulted them into contention. Carolina and Minnesota are separated only by goal differential, and the undefeated Indy Eleven (a phrase none of us could have imagined using this year) sit four points back of the boys in green.
How can the Cosmos win the spring? How can Indy? Let’s take a look at all the scenarios that are sure to make the “Spring Sprint” must-watch soccer:
As previously mentioned, the Cosmos control their own destiny when they travel down to Fort Lauderdale to face the Strikers this Saturday. A win there? Game, blouses. Stop reading, go home, nap till fall. A win Saturday somehow, mercifully crowns the New York Cosmos as NASL Spring Season Champions, and sends them to the NASL’s “The Championship” playoffs.
If the Cosmos were to draw, the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Fort Lauderdale Strikers would immediately be eliminated from Spring Season Contention. This result puts the Cosmos at 19 points with 10 games played, and both Tampa and Fort Lauderdale would only be able to max out at 18 and 16 points, respectively.
However, what happens if the Cosmos lose?
Consider Pandora’s (Peterson’s?) Box officially opened. Tampa (home v Ottawa), Carolina (home v Jacksonville), and Minnesota (away v Rayo OKC) all need to win to keep their Spring hopes alive. This would tie Minnesota and Carolina at 16 points, with Tampa and Fort Lauderdale tied at 15 points right behind them. All teams would need to win to even have a shot at Spring, with Minnesota (home v Miami) and Carolina (away v Indy 11) controlling their own destiny in regards to catching the Cosmos.
One team yet to be mentioned, however, is the Indy Eleven. Leading the challengers with 14 points and a game in hand to boot, Tim Hankinson’s undefeated squad has the best chance at grabbing the Spring Season away from the Cosmos if they drop all three points at Lockhart Stadium:
Any loss (which hasn’t been in Hankinson’s vocabulary this season) eliminates the Eleven outright. However, four points out of their final six puts them level on points with New York, bringing the tie to goal differential (Cosmos currently lead +8 to +4). Indy, however, controls their own destiny. Gaining six points away to Miami and home to Carolina, coupled with that hypothetical Cosmos loss, would give the Indy Eleven an undefeated Spring Season title. Quite the accomplishment that would be for a squad that seemed to be in utter turmoil and disarray in preseason.
Who wins the spring? Do the Cosmos tie it up Saturday down south? Can Indy become the NASL’s Invincibles? Let us know!