Forward Stefan Dimitrov hasn't scored a goal for the Cosmos this season, but he has a team-high three assists.
Dimitrov, 29, and the Cosmos (7-1-4, 25 points) can clinch the North American Soccer League fall season crown and earn a spot at Soccer Bowl in Atlanta on Nov. 9 by winning in San Antonio Saturday night.
How big was it for your family to win the green card lottery in Bulgaria and emigrate to the United States?
At that point, I didn't know anything about the U.S. and what my lifestyle was going to be like. I was fortunate enough to end up in New York. It is the ultimate city for a foreigner because you don't feel foreign . . . in New York. I met some interesting people, made some friends. I was very fortunate to win that lottery. Now that I am a citizen of the U.S., I am very proud of that.
You haven't been able to put the ball in the back of the net. Does it eat at you a little bit?
Definitely. I'm here to score goals and I know that I haven't scored any goals this season. When you look around the world, soccer is just like that. Some strikers score a lot, some strikers don't score as often. I believe that once I get one or two goals into the back of the net, I'm going to score a lot more. It's a lot more important for me to fulfill what the coach asks me to do.
How vital is it for the team to secure the title this week, so you don't show your cards to Atlanta in the regular-season finale Nov. 2?
This is very important. It's going to give us a little bit more of a rest, not only physically, but also mentally to be very relaxed coming into [Soccer Bowl]. We're going to go to San Antonio prepared for a very difficult game We're going to make the best of that game and make sure we clinch.
What was it like playing with the Cosmos at the Paul Scholes testimonial at Manchester United's Old Trafford in 2011?
It definitely was surreal. Today, I close my eyes. "Was I part of this game?" We [played] in that sacred stadium, against that superb team coming off winning the Premier League title. The team we put together was an all-star team. It was absolutely a phenomenal experience to play with players who have won world championships, Champions League, players of the year. It was a great memory and experience to learn firsthand how those players think, how they practice.
You do a lot of back-heel passes. Is that something you picked up from someone?
Where I came from, the academy I went through, we were very focused on being technical. We played pickup games. It's something that we enjoyed. It's something [that] gives me pleasure. I understand at the professional level, it's very disrespectful to do that all the time. So I pick my moments when I'm sure able to pull that off.