QUALIFYING TOURNAMENT: GROUP 3 PREVIEW
Featuring only one team that has qualified for Cosmos Copa previously, Group 3 of the Qualifying Tournament is a relatively open group.
Having qualified for the last two Cosmos Copa tournaments, NYC Italy are the class of Group 3. As always, Italy are led by their inspirational captain and midfielder Jeff Matteo. As a long time veteran of the New York soccer scene, Matteo is the heart and soul of this Italian side. Playing in almost a libero position, Matteo links play well and connects the Italian midfield with their attack. This year, like many of the teams in Cosmos Copa, Italy has decided to recruit younger players into their squad and many members of the team play in local colleges. Italy have a large potential player pool to choose from in the tri-state area and the slight tweaks to the tournament’s heritage rules this year could potentially benefit them greatly. Is it enough to help them keep up their recent form and qualify for a third straight Cosmos Copa?
With the wonderful success of the Spanish national team, Cosmos Copa is excited to welcome NYC Spain to the 2012 tournament. Much like their professional counterparts, NYC Spain looks to play a possession game based on quick, short and precise passes, other wise known as “tiki taka” football. When they played NYC Italy in a recent friendly they were able to keep the ball with ease but lost 3-2 to the experienced Italians. The side looked technically proficient but they seemed to be behind the Italians physically and in terms of fitness. However they scored two cracking goals. Will they be able translate their possession football into goals and advance out of their group?
At last year’s qualifying tournament, NYC Portugal had arguably the very best fans but they weren’t able to channel that support off the pitch and survive qualifying. There is a large Portuguese community for the team to pull players from but this team seemed to come together rather late. The question is whether or not they have had enough time to organize a side good enough to get past the other teams in group 3?
NYC Bolivia is a new and enthusiastic entrant to Cosmos Copa. They have a vibrant youtube page and are a well organized and welcome addition to the tournament. The core of the team plays on Bolivida Unida FC in New Jersey. They lost a recent friendly to NYC Argentina but the side that played that day seemed young, talented and quick. However, they were slightly bossed around by the more physical and experienced Argentinean side. One of the most noticeable features of the side was their sneaky strikers who have the ability to get behind the opposition defense. Are they able to translate their off the pitch organization and enthusiasm into on the pitch success?
NYC Egypt is also a brand new team to Cosmos Copa for 2012. Not much is known about this side but they do have some players that play for some of the biggest club sides in the area. Team president, John Tanios has experience on one of the Cosmopolitan Soccer League's powerhouse clubs, Manhattan Celtic and they have two players on Shamrock SC. Can they pull a surprise and come out of nowhere to qualify out of group 2?