Who: Silverbacks vs. New York Cosmos
What: Championship game of the North American Soccer League
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: 3200 Atlanta Silverbacks Way in Silverbacks Park, off Northcrest Road, near Spaghetti Junction.
TV: ESPN Deportes
Parking: Available offsite, but near the stadium. Cost is $20.
Season series: The teams tied 1-1 in New York on Sept. 7, and the Cosmos won 1-0 in Atlanta on Nov. 2.
History: The defunct Atlanta Chiefs won the NASL championship in 1968. It was the first professional major sports championship in the city’s history. The Silverbacks are attempting to win their first title.
About the Silverbacks: They clinched a spot in the Soccer Bowl by winning the NASL’s spring season with a 6-3-3 (W-T-L) record and goal difference of plus-5. With a slot secured, the team struggled in the fall season with a 4-4-6 record and a goal-difference of minus-8. They have lost their past three games.
About the Cosmos: This isn’t the team once led by Pele, but the name and logo are the same.
They clinched a spot in the Soccer Bowl by winning the league’s fall season with a 9-4-1 record with a goal difference of plus-10. A new team, they didn’t play in the spring. They are attempting to win their sixth title, and first since 1982.
Players to watch: The Silverbacks will be led by forwards Pedro Mendes and Ruben Luna, who have scored eight goals each. The midfield is powered by Danny Barrera, who had seven assists, and Richard Menjivar. The defense is anchored by Martyn Lancaster and goalkeeper Joe Nasco, both of whom were named to the NASL’s Best 11 on Friday.
The Cosmos are led by Spain international Marcos Senna, who also was named to the Best 11 after scoring five goals with two assists. Pedro Mendes’ twin brother Paulo is a standout for New York. Paulo played for the Silverbacks last year.