Final thoughts: New York Cosmos’ win over Scorpions

IMAGE, ANTHONY MERCED VIA MERLARDO PRODUCTIONS, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

To borrow a popular quote from America’s pastime and apply it to the world’s game, Saturday’s extra time New York Cosmos victory over the San Antonio Scorpions was “deja-vu all over again.”

The Cosmos took an early lead, lost it, and then snatched a victory out of the mouth of defeat in the waning minutes of the match – just as they did the last time they played a game at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

While the narrative was the same, the intricacies in their performance certainly were not.

“In some ways, definitely, because of the way the game went,” Head Coach Giovanni Savarese observed. “We went ahead first, they tied and then we win in the last second. Similar in that way.

“The game was different. They created chances,” he delineated. “We also created more opportunities. We found more in the spaces behind the other team. In some ways, it was a different game. They tried to play as well, they tried to come up, the strikers were more defensive minded. Even so, the score was the same and the drama was the same.”

Here are some final thoughts on the Cosmos thrilling win:

SENNA IS RIGHT

The New York Cosmos need to establish consistency, because, as Marcos Senna said, these last-gasp winners are unsustainable.

It is early in the season, and Savarese has been able to find the right combinations in several areas of the field, but his free flowing attack needs a lethal finisher to put away many of the team’s chances. As it stands, Noselli and company are falling short of the mark.

HOLE-Y DEFENSE

While the team’s backline did just enough to hold back the Scorpions, you would be deluding yourself to think it was an acceptable performance.

Centerback tandems will need time to gel at any level in order to succeed. As it stands, captain Carlos Mendes now finds himself alongside a world soccer veteran in Roversio; a defender he has had little time to work an understanding with. While Hunter Freeman has been solid out of the right back slot, the left back situation could become murky if a natural sided player is not acquired.

Even down a man, the Scorpions found more than enough room to expose. That has to change if this team hopes to contend.

SZETELA MAKING HIS CASE

While he may not be as physically imposing as Joseph Nane, Danny Szetela demonstrated why he was once considered amongst the brightest young stars in the American game.

Filling in for the suspended midfielder, Szetela brought a poise and calm alongside Senna that helped quell the Scorpions midfield attack.

“It was a great game for him,” Savarese said. “Excellent. He was strong in the middle, he was able to move the ball faster, he found the ball, connected well with Senna, changed the point of attack very well, moved forward well a lot of times and he was a player that would come and instill a lot of good balls.

“He is showing he has grown and that is exciting for us,” he continued. “I think we still have a lot more to see from Szetela to become even better. He was an important piece for the win today.”

ATTENDANCE

It was a vocal crowd and a passionate showing, but the drop in attendance from the home opener to game two was staggering (11,989 to 6,852).

Earlier this year, EOS caught up with Cosmos owner Seamus O’Brien who said he “anticipated” a drop in numbers from game one. Still, judging from the team’s giveaway alone (free t-shirts to the first 7,500 fans), the number against San Antonio must be a disappointment.

The Cosmos have continued to be visible in the local community as well as the city’s transportation hubs. After two road games and no television exposure, their build-up fizzled a bit as shown this Saturday. How to maintain their numbers in spite of such obstacles will be key in the success of this club.