Cosmos Notebook: Restrepo Departs for Rowdies

Walter Restrepo, Robert Baggio Kcira IMAGE, STEVE HAMLIN/THIS IS COSMOS COUNTRY

By JAKE NUTTING

Cosmos logoOne week before the start of the Fall Season, EoS has learned that New York Cosmos midfielder Walter Restrepo has signed with the team’s former North American Soccer League rival, the Tampa Bay Rowdies of the United Soccer League.

Restrepo, 29, signed with the Cosmos in the off-season and recorded 2 goals and 2 assists through 13 appearances during the Spring Season. The American-Colombian winger did not play for the Cosmos in their final two matches of the Spring Season.

The Rowdies are in need of depth in midfield after injuries to Michael Nanchoff and former Cosmos winger Leo Fernandes. Tampa Bay is in fourth place in the USL’s Eastern Conference (7-5-7, 28 points) with 13 matches left in the season.

Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese noted in conference call after Restrepo’s release was made official that he hopes to announce the addition of an attacking midfielder soon.

“First we have to understand we brought in a lot of players in June,” Savarese said. “We brought in Lucky Mkosana, we brought in Kobi Moyal, and we need to have a good balance. In regards to the future, there definitely will be one more player coming in that I think is gonna be an impactful player. We have to organize the team that we think is going to be the best group possible to compete in the Fall Season.”

Maurer Joins Dallas for the Weekend

Jimmy Maurer and the Cosmos will both be in Canada this weekend, but the longtime Cosmos keeper will not be joining his teammates for their exhibition against La Liga’s Valencia in Regina, Saskatchewan, on Saturday.

While the Cosmos are playing their exhibition match, Maurer will be linking up with FC Dallas for its match in Montreal to offer cover for the Major League Soccer team. Dallas is in need of a keeper after starter Jesse Gonzalez was added to the U.S. national team’s 23-man roster for the knockout stages of the CONCACAF Gold Cup earlier this week.

The Cosmos have accommodated Dallas by sending Maurer, 28, to Dallas for a match this weekend. Maurer will not miss any NASL action — the Cosmos kick off their Fall Season at home against Spring Season winner Miami FC on July 29.

In exchange for sending Maurer to Dallas, the MLS team will send U.S. U-20 international Coy Craft to participate in the Valencia exhibition. The young winger has a made a handful of appearances for Dallas in past seasons, but he has not seen the field this year.

“Jimmy’s had a very good season,” Savarese said. “We were trying to give him a rest this weekend and keep him here in New York. Due to the fact that we have so many injuries for this weekend, we collaborated with Dallas for us to be able to have one player come to us from Dallas and participate in our game. It’s given the opportunity for Jimmy to train a little bit with them as well. He’s going to sit on the bench for the game in Montreal and then he’s going to come back to us right away.”

Savarese stressed that he does not see Maurer leaving the Cosmos permanently anytime soon.

“For sure, I don’t see Jimmy Maurer going anywhere. That’s a for sure thing,” he said.

Maurer has been one of New York’s biggest assets on the field this year, posting a 1.31 goals against average and saving 47 shots fired his way through 14 starts. His consistency with the Cosmos garnered interest from some MLS teams during the off-season when the prospects of a new Cosmos season looked bleak.

Alhassan and Amauri Dropped

Kalif Alhassan will not be continuing with the team in the Fall Season. The team announced on Wednesday that the Alhassan, an attacking midfielder, has been released from his contract by mutual consent.

Alhassan, 26, scored one goal in five appearances for the Cosmos off the bench during the Spring Season. His lone start came in the team’s U.S. Open Cup loss to Reading United in which he scored the opening goal.

In addition to Alhassan leaving the Cosmos, Savarese confirmed that Amauri will not be returning to the team. The Itlalian striker disappeared from the Cosmos in May due to undisclosed personal issues. Savarese met with Amauri during the teams trip to Miami in late June and came to conclusion that it was best for both sides to move on.

“After conversing at that time, we decided that the right thing for him to stay with his family. That was the decision that he made,” Savarese said. “We kept all that very confidential because we want to protect the personal situation of the player.  He will not be longer a part of this organization. He has not been part of this organization for a long time, but we’ve been making sure as always that we think first about the player, that he’s ok. Soon you’ll be looking at his picture being taken away from our website.”