October 24, 2016
November can't come soon enough
By Michael Lewis
Felipe and the Red Bulls could be playing deep into November or even into December.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Don't know about you, ladies and gents, but the weekend of Nov. 5-6 is shaping up to be the greatest weekend in New York/New Jersey soccer history.
This is what we have on tap in about two weeks time:
Saturday, Nov. 5 -- The Cosmos will face an opponent to be determined this Saturday, at James M. Shuart Stadium in The Championship semifinals of the North American Soccer League playoffs at 7 p.m. that night. As fall and combined seasons champions, the Cosmos have proven to be the best team in the league. But as we all know, anything can happen in a one-game knockout situation in the playoffs. If they continue to perform as they have, they will be a dangerous side in the postseason.
Sunday, Nov. 6 - The Red Bulls and New York City FC will host Eastern Conference semifinal games on opposite sides of the Hudson River that day. We don't know their foes just yet or the times of the game. But due to the historic nature of the day, hopefully the powers that be at Major League Soccer will make a Solomon-esque decision and not have the games back-to-back, giving the media and even some fans who want to watch the games alive at Red Bull Arena and Yankee Stadium an opportunity to travel from one venue to another.
In case you were wondering, MLS has games scheduled that day for 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. (all ET).
And just to throw a wrench into our potential travel plans, the New York Giants host the Philadelphia Eagles at MetLife Stadium that Sunday, with kickoff at 1 p.m. ET.
The metropolitan area never has had a weekend in which three professional teams are in the semifinals of their respective league playoffs.
With one championship in its back pocket with Red Bulls II securing the USL championship with an emphatic 5-1 win Sunday night, there could be three, yes, count 'em, three titles to celebrate.
Assuming they get past their semifinal opponent, the Cosmos would be vying for their third Soccer Bowl title in three years and second in a row against in a venue to be determined on the weekend of Nov. 12-13.
If the Red Bulls and NYC FC get past their semifinal foes (we'll know for certain Thursday night), they will tussle in what could be MLS derby for the ages on during what should be an unforgettable nine-day span before and after Thanksgiving (the first leg of the Eastern Conference final is set for Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 8 p.m., the second leg Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7 p.m.; sorry, no weekend games; TV seems to have the final decisions on when games will be played these days).
The winner of that series would qualify for MLS Cup against the Western Conference survivor Saturday, Dec. 10.
So, area soccer fans certainly would have a lot to be thankful for, if that comes to fruition.
Even if it will be colder in a month's time, November can't get here soon enough.