Arrieta excited about fresh start with Cosmos after dour time at DC United

IMAGE, JOSE ARGUETA/ELTIEMPOLATINO.COM

by DAVE MARTINEZ

Costa Rican striker Jairo Arrieta would rather forget 2015.

While the season began on a high note for the then-DC United striker, replacing the suspended Fabian Espindola and becoming the team’s starter, he quickly became an afterthought, earning his last start with the club on August 9th.

“I started well, playing, scoring goals,” Arrieta tells EoS. “Due to circumstances you can’t control, I was given very little opportunities throughout the season. I had very little time on the field there after and as a player, that effects you tremendously.”

Judging by his playing time, it seems safe to conclude Arrieta was not part of Ben Olsen’s plans, particularly in the waning months of the season. Arrieta started 12 of the team’s initial 19 matches, sitting out three matches. In that time, he scored a respectable five goals and added an assist to his ledger. However, of his 12 starts, Olsen pulled him from 10 matches, leaving Arrieta with just two 90 minute games under his belt.

In the remaining 15 matches of the year, Arrieta saw just three starts and no goals. His club status was clear, especially as he sat as an unused substitute in the team’s final three matches of the year.

While Arrieta sat, players like Espindola, Chris Rolfe, Alvaro Saborio and Connor Doyle all earned minutes. All the while, Arrieta was still second in the team in goals, wondering what happened to his opportunity.

“[Ben Olsen and I] spoke plenty of times,” Arrieta said. “I always asked him ‘why am I not getting minutes?’ I always trained well. I am a professional player. I give everything I have. I train like I play. I thought I showed that I played well. But this happens in football and sometimes that is hard to understand. I had very few minutes and I couldn’t go on there. I wanted to, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

With a tinge of exasperation, Arrieta said, “Thank God, I am here with the Cosmos.”

The 32-year-old striker was a surprise signing for the Cosmos this offseason. While his time at DC did not live up to expectations, Arrieta was arguably an enticing option for any MLS team looking to reinforce their striker corps.

Instead, Arrieta chose to go the NASL and feature with the Soccer Bowl champion Cosmos. That comes in large part due to Giovanni Savarese’s recruitment. The Cosmos boss caught wind of the veteran striker’s availability and sold Arrieta on the idea. “He told me about the entire project,” Arrieta recalls. “It is something very interesting and I hope to have a good year here, score goals and be champions. That is why I am here.”

But there is another driving force for Arrieta – the chance to prove people wrong. After taking MLS by storm in 2012, his production has slipped year to year. With the Cosmos, he sees an opportunity to reclaim the form that made him a sought after commodity so many years ago.

“This was a decision we made as a family. I am happy about it,” he said. “I am coming to a great team; a team that always fights to be a champion in this league. That is important. That mentality helps me to stay competitive and that’s what I want. I want to show why the Cosmos signed me and reward the technical staff for their faith in my abilities this year.

“I like the challenge of the Cosmos,” he continued. “It is a team with a great tradition in the United States and a champion in this league. It fills me with motivation and confidence to be here, and I am looking forward to a strong season.

“I am happy that God has given me this opportunity — and thankful to this technical staff for giving me the opportunity.”

 

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  • Anthony

    Arrieta better find the back of the net early, because based on how Duk looked for Boliva last night, only a hot start will keep him as first choice up top for the Cosmos.

    • William

      We also have LUCKY.