2015 QUARTERFINALS PREVIEW
By Aaron Cheris
After many close battles in the Cosmos Copa Round of 16, eight teams advanced to the quarterfinals. The quarterfinals will take place at Randall’s Island on Saturday, July 25. All games will kick off at 5 p.m.
Field 82: NYC Greece vs. NYC France
These two teams took different routes to the quarterfinals, but their paths will intersect this weekend.
NYC Greece was dominant in the opening round, winning all three of their games to claim Group A’s top spot. In the Round of 16, NYC Jamaica jumped out to a 2-0 lead over the NYC Greece. But the Greeks weren’t done. Former Cosmos forward Stefan Dimitrov tied the game late in the second half then scored the winning goal in the penalty shootout to send the Greeks through.
For NYC France, a berth in the quarterfinals was clinched through a 4-2 win over NYC Haiti. Goals from Charles Fayet, Raoui Lassoued, Stephen Brossard, and Vincent Bezecourt were the difference for the French side in the win. NYC France has made it to the championship game each of the past two years, and they are hoping to make it that far for the third straight year.
With a semifinal berth on the line, nobody will be holding anything back in this game that looks to be a tightly contested one.
Field 83: NYC El Salvador vs. NYC Colombia
Two teams who have made deeper Cosmos Copa runs than ever before will meet looking to extend their Copa lives in 2015.
NYC Colombia had never made it to the knockout stages of this tournament before. They did just that by defeating Group D’s top seed, NYC Poland, and NYC Spain before a draw against NYC Mexico in the opening round. In the Round of 16, their battle with NYC USA was scoreless for 90 minutes. In the penalty shootout, the Colombians got a stop from their goalkeeper before converting their last kick to knockout the Americans.
NYC El Salvador made it to the quarterfinals last year, but they are hoping to move further this time around. Their defense has been strong so far in this tournament, allowing just one goal In the opening round before a 4-1 victory over NYC Ecuador sent them to the quarterfinals.
The two strong defensive teams will look for some offense to send them to the semi-finals.
Field 84: NYC Ireland vs. NYC Ukraine
Both of these teams had to survive close games in the Round of 16 to reach the quarterfinals, and they’re hoping the experience will lead them further.
NYC Ukraine began this tournament hoping to play as a strong group. They did that in the opening round, defeating NYC Holland and NYC Guinea to clinch their spot in the Round of 16. In their Round of 16 matchup against NYC Chile, NYC Ukraine took a 3-2 lead in the second half, only to allow an equalizer 11 seconds later. In the penalty shootout, neither team got the edge until NYC Chile’s last attempt was denied sending NYC Ukraine through.
The Irish squad hasn’t been able to break through in recent years. Two semifinals appearances and a finals appearance haven’t resulted in a Cosmos Copa title yet. Things are looking up this time around. In the opening round, NYC Ireland clinched Group E’s top spot with two wins and a draw. In the Round of 16, the Irish held off a strong NYC Senegal squad for a 2-1 victory to clinch a quarterfinals berth.
These teams will look to continue their hot streaks in the quarterfinals.
Field 85: NYC Gambia vs. NYC Argentina
Two of this year’s most dominant teams will meet in a highly anticipated Cosmos Copa quarterfinal.
Last year, the tournament belonged to NYC Gambia, as they were crowned champions. This year, they began their title defense in style with 25 goals in the opening round. In their Round of 16 matchup against NYC Peru, the game went to a penalty shootout where the Gambians were able to hold off NYC Peru 3-1 to clinch their spot in the quarterfinals.
NYC Argentina didn’t have too much competition in the opening round, as they clinched Group H’s top seed with three victories while allowing just one goal. In their Round of 16 matchup, they blew past NYC Mexico 5-1 to clinch their spot in the quarterfinals. The Argentinian squad will look to dethrone the champs and keep their spirits high.
Both of these squads have momentum heading into the quarterfinals, and they are hoping to ride the good vibes through to the semifinals.