October 18, 2016
If stars align and soccer gods allow it, 8 or 9 days in November could be a memorable one for NY soccer
By Michael Lewis
Andrea Pirlo and his NYC FC teammates could enjoy a memorable November if they play their cards right.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
If the stars align and the soccer gods allow it, New York soccer fans could be treated to a memorable eight or nine days in November.
Take a look at this possible scenario:
* Saturday, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m.: Cosmos host a North American Soccer League semifinal game of The Championship against an opponent TBD at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. That's a definite.
* Sunday, Nov. 6 -- Now, this is where prayers to the soccer gods come in. The first-place Red Bulls have done their job, avoiding the mid-week knockout round. The worst they can finish is second in the Eastern Conference, that would take a tremendous collapse by them or an incredible win via a ridiculous margin by NYC FC over the Columbus Crew Sunday. Don't see that happening. Saying that, City needs to beat the Crew at Yankee Stadium to secure second place. A tie can clinch a spot for the Blues as long as third-place Toronto FC loses or ties. Yes, NYC FC also can clinch second even if it loses and the Canadian club suffers a feat.
So, if the Red Bulls and New York City FC finish one-two in the Eastern Conference, there will be two Major League Soccer conference second-leg semifinal playoff games only miles apart on the same day, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. and City in the Bronx.
MLS has set the TV times for those matches for 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. If the metro teams find themselves in that position, hopefully the powers that be will schedule one game at 3 p.m., the other at 7:30 p.m. We can only hope.
And if both teams win, an historic Eastern Conference final series, a Hudson River border war will ignite.
* Friday, Nov. 11 -- U.S. vs. Mexico in another dos a cero encounter in a World Cup qualifying match in Columbus, Ohio. Enough said (OK, unless you are in Columbus, you will have to watch it on TV, but still, a great confrontation).
* Nov. 12-13 -- If the Cosmos win the semifinal, they will host Soccer Bowl in their quest for their second consecutive NASL championship and third in four years. No exact date or venue has been selected as Hofstra University said that Shuart Stadium will not be available for that weekend.
As I have said before, enjoy the ride. We just don't know when we'll have another time this like. Cherish the moment and moments.