2015 ROUND OF 16 PREVIEW: PART 1
By Aaron Cheris
Cosmos Copa 2015 has reached the knockout stages. The Round of 16 kicks off on Sunday, July 19 at Randall's Island. Here's a lok at the first four matchups of the day.
NYC Greece vs. NYC Jamaica
One of the early surprises of Cosmos Copa 2015 was NYC Jamaica. Coming into the tournament, they were at the bottom of Group E, but that didn’t stop them from advancing to the Round of 16.
Two victories led the Jamaicans through their group, and strong goalkeeping by Devon Haughton was one of the reasons the Jamaicans advanced.
In their first games, NYC Jamaica beat NYC Paraguay and NYC Japan by a combined score of 12-0 before falling in their final group stage game to NYC Ireland.
The Jamaicans hope their brand of “Reggae Soccer” will lead them to the quarterfinals.
The Greeks said before the tournament that they take pride in their defense, and their pride was in the right place in the opening round. NYC Greece allowed just one goal in their three games, with the benefit of a forfeit from NYC England.
Victories over NYC Kosova and NYC Senegal sent NYC Greece to the Round of 16 atop Group A.
This game will open Round of 16 play, and a quick start will be crucial for an early morning victory.
NYC Haiti vs. NYC France
NYC Haiti dominated Group B by not allowing a goal in any of their three opening round victories. They match up against an NYC France squad looking to reclaim old glory.
After winning Cosmos Copa in 2013, NYC France fell in the championship game last season. In their group stage this time around, the French team got two wins to advance out of Group F. NYC France allowed one goal in the opening round, but that cost them the game against NYC Honduras.
The two strong defenses meet with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.
NYC El Salvador vs. NYC Ecuador
A Central American and South American teams square off with a quarterfinals spot on the line.
Prior to the group stage this time around, NYC El Salvador captain Jose Martinez said his team had, “an exquisite defense.”
In the group stage, his team lived up to those expectations by finishing atop Group C while allowing just one goal. A scoreless draw against NYC Peru and wins over NYC Guyana and NYC Ghana sent NYC El Salvador through the group stage.
Like NYC El Salvador, NYC Ecuador also allowed just one goal in the opening round of the tournament. After a tie against defending champion NYC Gambia, NYC Ecuador benefitted from a forfeit by NYC Antigua, setting up a do or die game against NYC Scotland. The Ecuadorians won that crucial game 1-0 to advance as the two-seed in Group G.
NYC Colombia vs. NYC USA
The Colombians and Americans have played each other for decades in fierce soccer rivalries, and that rivalry will extend to Cosmos Copa this weekend.
Coming in as the three-seed in Group D, NYC Colombia looked to reach the knockout stages for the first time in team history. They accomplished their goal by defeating top-seeded NYC Poland and NYC Spain before a scoreless draw against the Mexicans sent them through as the top team in the group.
The Americans started off the tournament on the right foot on Independence Day with a convincing win over NYC Albania, but a tough loss the next day to NYC Argentina put the Americans in a tough spot. With their tournament on the line, NYC USA knocked out NYC Croatia 5-2 to clinch their spot in the Round of 16.
The Americans have made the quarterfinals each of the past three years, while NYC Colombia has never made it that far yet.