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Cosmos Watch: Q&A with coach Giovanni Savarese

After losing the NASL spring title to Minnesota, the Cosmos get a second chance when they open their fall season against San Antonio at Shuart Stadium at 7 p.m. Saturday. To qualify for one of three remaining playoff berths, they need to win the crown or finish with one of the top two overall records. Coach Giovanni Savarese talked about his team's prospects and the World Cup.

Do you view the fall season as a second chance to reach the playoffs?

We were looking forward to winning the spring season. We tried everything possible. We came one point short. Because the season was short, there was no room for little mistakes. We're starting this new season as a team that will qualify because we're right behind Minnesota. We just have to continue to keep that distance from other teams. We are still looking to win the fall season.

How hungry are the Cosmos?

We are very hungry. That we were one point away motivates the players more. It will make the team very competitive. That is going to be a very good thing for us. This is going to be a longer season . Mentally, we need to be stronger to sustain the quality of soccer we want to play. We want to perform consistently. We cannot afford lapses.

San Antonio snapped your home unbeaten streak this year.

We were very disappointed. The Scorpions defended very well. But we understand that it's going to be different. We have more resources. That was a learning period. We understand that it was not enough just to maintain possession, to have so many corner kicks and shots on goal. All those stats aren't going to win you games. We have to make sure to do what's necessary to break them down. We have something to prove.

There has been speculation about Spanish striker Raul signing with the team. What is his status?

I will just make this comment. I will say that you cannot rule it out yet. Only the future will tell if something may happen.

What would he bring to the team?

It is difficult to talk about one player when he is not on your team. Players like him that have had great careers and plenty of experience and most of all, like Marcos Senna, they are winners. They are never satisfied. They always want to push everyone to do their best. They are great professionals.

Who will win the World Cup?

I picked Argentina beforehand. I thought the final could be Brazil and Argentina, though I felt that Germany is the strongest team. If you look at their players and the way they've played, Germany is very strong. But that they're playing in South America makes me feel that they would not be able to make it all the way. Argentina has been growing. For Argentina to win in Brazil is something of pride, winning a World Cup in one of their rival countries. They have something to prove.

New York Sports