November 5, 2016
Will it be feast or famine for Red Bulls, NYC FC, Cosmos this weekend in their playoff games?
By Michael Lewis
Bradley Wright-Phillips and the Red Bulls will try to overcome a one-goal deficit against the Montreal Impact.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
If you're a soccer fan in New York or New Jersey, you must be in nirvana this weekend.
After all, how often do all three pro teams partake in playoff games within a 26-hour period?
Well, this is the first time.
While these are some heady times for local pro soccer, the reality is that the title quest for all three teams can ended this weekend as they face do-of-die situations.
The Cosmos will be the first team to be tested when they host Rayo OKC in the North American Soccer League semifinals at James M. Shuart Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday. While New York ran away with the fall and combined championships and haven't lost at home in more than 13 months, the Cosmos struggled against Rayo with a 1-1-1 mark this season. And Rayo boasts a five-game winning streak and a 10-match unbeaten streak.
If the Cosmos emerge as victors, they will host the NASL championship game at Belson Stadium next Sunday.
Next on tap will be the Red Bulls, who welcome the Montreal Impact to Red Bull Arena for their second-leg Eastern Conference semifinal in the Major League Soccer playoffs at 4 p.m. Sunday. The Red Bulls need to overcome a 1-0 deficit in the loss they suffered at Montreal last Sunday.
And then City finishes things off with a 6:30 p.m. Sunday encounter against Toronto FC at Yankee Stadium. The Blues face the most difficult road, needing to dig out of a two-goal hole after a 2-0 defeat in Canada last Sunday. It's not impossible, but extremely rare for an MLS team to overcome that type of deficit.
If NYC FC and the Red Bulls manage to pull comeback wins, it would mean another Hudson River Derby in the conference finals.
Win and the teams survive to play for their respective crowns another day.
Lose and its way til next year.
In other words, soccer life in the postseason can go from feast to famine so quickly.