By Ben Tetelman

Now that the first stage of 2014 Cosmos Copa is over, teams that have prequalified for the tournament will join the champions of the qualifying round in the group stage.
Here is a preview of Group A, which will begin playing July 19 at Pier 40 in Hudson River Park, Manhattan.
NYC Gambia:
With a loss to NYC Senegal in the semifinals of the 2013 Cosmos Copa, NYC Gambia will be looking for a different ending in 2014. The African side has had the advantage of prequalifying for the group stage this year, and will hope to strategically dismantle their opponents in the group stage.
NYC Bolivia:
NYC Bolivia made a run to the semifinals in 2012, and came into last year’s Copa with hopes of returning to that stage of the competition. Those hopes were dashed when they suffered a 2-1 defeat to NYC Senegal in the quarterfinals. After an early exit from the knockout stages last year, the prequalified NYC Bolivia will look to venture far into the competition in 2014.
NYC Ireland:
It is hard to believe that NYC Ireland have never won a Cosmos Copa Championship considering their illustrious history in the tournament. The side has appeared in the knockout stages three times, with one finals appearance in 2009.
As the 2014 tournament approached, there was talk that NYC Ireland had organized a strong side. Any doubts about the strength of NYC Ireland were surely silenced in the qualifying rounds, which finished up last week.
In qualifying, NYC Ireland took home the maximum nine points, with three wins in a strong group that included NYC Spain, NYC Paraguay and NYC Egypt.
The boys in green will look for continued offensive success from Conor Hunter, who leads NYC Ireland with three goals in all competition. Hunter currently sits behind Fritzson Jean Baptist of NYC Haiti in the race for the golden boot, which is awarded to the tournament’s top goal scorer.
NYC Ecuador:
NYC Ecuador’s absence from recent Copa tournaments had the South American nation looking like an underdog in the qualifying rounds of the 2014 Cosmos Copa. Matched up with NYC Greece, NYC England and last-minute entry NYC Zimbabwe, a trip to the group stage seemed far-fetched for NYC Ecuador.
In a great battle for a position at the top of the table, the Amarillos of NYC shocked the qualifying group by advancing to the group stage on a tiebreaker. Tied at seven points, with two victories and a draw, NYC Ecuador skidded past NYC Greece with a stronger goal differential.
Emerging as a dark horse contender, NYC Ecuador will look to continue their success on both sides of the pitch. From a defensive perspective, NYC Ecuador has been one of the strongest sides, allowing just one goal in three games. In the attack, Guido Fabricio Goana and Luis Argudo will look to continue their goal scoring sprees.