ATLANTA - The Cosmos will try tonight to complete a dream season in their return to competitive soccer after almost three decades by winning the North American Soccer League title.
Coach Giovanni Savarese built the team from scratch en route to a 9-1-4 record and the fall season crown. The Cosmos meet the Atlanta Silverbacks in Soccer Bowl at 7:30 (ESPN3, ESPN Deportes).
How far did you think this team could go?
"We didn't look at we were going to win the championship, we have to accumulate this amount of points," Savarese said. "We said, 'Let's put a lot of work into this team. Let's bring the right kind of players with the right mentality. Let's make sure we prepare for every game and not look at the following week. If we've done well, we will have accumulated enough points to be champions.' The team has been growing. It has been tremendous season.
What would winning the Soccer Bowl mean for you and the organization?
The players deserve to win a championship. As they understand it's not about deserving, it's about what you're going to do in the final. The guys are ready, they have done it before. They're going to step onto the field and they're going to give 100 percent. It has been a very good first step for the Cosmos to be back. It leaves a very good taste in the mouth of people that maybe [thought] we're not going to work as hard to build it up so quickly. Things are always easier when you have an ownership that is very strong.
What have you learned about yourself and the team?
I just know I have to work and work and work. When you have a good locker room, when you have good people, people that are hungry and they are pulling the same way, great things can be achieved. That has been one of the keys to our success. This has only solidified my belief that you can form a group of really good people and do well on the pitch.
How vital is it to have a good locker room?
It's very important. It takes so much to build and it takes so little to destroy. The team's reaction at the most crucial times starts are important. When we lost at Carolina, there was no panic. There was a sense of security.