As the Cosmos get ready to open the 2016 Spring Season, fans get ready to follow their team week in and week out for the next 6-7 months. How does that shake out schedule-wise for the Cosmos? Let’s dip in.
I think the first thing that stands out is how all but one of the spring season home games is on a Sunday. The only Saturday game is on Memorial Day weekend and is also the same day as the UEFA Champions League final. So once again, the Hofstra effect really seems to hurt the Cosmos.
While some people might prefer the Sunday game, overall, its not the best night to get fans out in groves to the stadium. The 6 PM kickoff times hurt even further. Luckily, the fall season offers a lot more on Saturday nights.
Two home games to start off the season is a very nice way to get things moving. Especially after starting off on the road for two games last year. The first game is a match up of the 2015 Soccer Bowl, however, this is not the same Ottawa team that finished runners-up last season. Then. the Cosmos host a new look Armada team under coach Tony Meola and this game could be the trickier of the first two.
The Cosmos head out on their first road trip to the Midwest where they will face the Indy Eleven, a team they still have yet to beat, and the tough Minnesota United. Wait, are they called Minnesota FC yet?
The Cosmos will host the Railhawks and Rowdies who are different teams on the road but they do end the Spring Season at Lockhart, however, the Cosmos have played well there in the past.
Overall, the Spring Season schedule plays a bit in the Cosmos favor, however, the first two home games will prove critical as we all know that it is a sprint and a quick jump out of the gate could mean everything.
The Cosmos start the Fall Season the same place they started the spring, at home against Ottawa. The start of the fall season will be a bit tricky, though, as after Ottawa and traveling to Miami, the Cosmos begin on a very tough stretch of games. They will again host a tough Armada team and then have a three-game road trip which sees games at Rayo OKC, Tampa and. the ever tough place to travel, Edmonton. The Cosmos have been known to leave some players home for this trip.
This tough trip could also be combined with some Open Cup tired legs if the Cosmos are able to advance into that tournament.
The Cosmos return home on July 30th, three days after the Edmonton trip, but things get a bit more favorable as, from July 30th until September 24th, the Cosmos have only two road games. That is only two out of nine games on the road. This could be a very important period for the Cosmos as they head to the final stretch of September and October.
That final stretch is the complete reversal of the previously mentioned stretch as, of the Cosmos’ final seven games in the 2016 NASL season, five of them are on the road. The Cosmos only have two remaining home games after September 17th. They are against both South Florida teams.
The road trips in this period are very tough as the Cosmos have to go to Wake Med in Carolina, which is never an easy place to play, up to Ottawa in potentially much cooler weather, to Jacksonville and they cap off the year in Minnesota.
Long story short is, the Cosmos are going to contend for the post season but if they do not win the Spring Season and need to rely on the Fall Season, it could be a very difficult ask over the last month and a half.
It is going to be a very wild year in Cosmos Country as the NASL is getting better and better. Get your tickets and enjoy the show.
I’m not a fan of Sunday games and if they have to be played on Sunday, I would be more a fan of the earlier kick-offs. Spring attendance could really hurt. Hofstra continues to strangle this club.
We need to take those first six points. Period. Traveling to Indy and Minnesota next…those six points are vital. Especially against a significantly weaker Ottawa side and an Armada side still putting the pieces together.
As for the fall season, one’s first instinct might be to say that a solid start is important with the end of the season being spent mostly on the road, but my priority would be on making a deep run in the US Open Cup. To that end, I’d sacrifice a few games in fall.
But, of course, that just makes the spring that much more important for a playoff spot and home field advantage.