Still injured, Senna says Cosmos must be fearless to beat Red Bulls – with or without him


Even with the likes of Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, Jamison Olave, Dax McCarty, Roy Miller and Luis Robles out for Saturday’s U.S. Open Cup encounter between the New York Red Bulls and Cosmos, the case can be made that the reigning NASL champions are still, by all means, the underdog in this match.

That may be accentuated by the potential absence of Marcos Senna.

The Spanish international did not train again Wednesday afternoon, leaving little hope that the 37-year-old will make it for Saturday’s clash at Shuart Stadium. Unlike the Red Bulls, who have experience and a deep talent pool beyond their starting XI, the Cosmos hold a more shallow bench. While Joseph Nane and Danny Szetela may make an adequate pairing in Senna’s absence, injuries to Roversio and Diomar Diaz may stretch the team further.

No matter his availability, or that of his teammates, Senna tells EOS that the Red Bulls will be the favorites for this match — and the Cosmos would be wise to recognize that fact.

“The hope is there,” he said. “[The Red Bulls] are a team with great players, but some of those players won’t be there. Nevertheless, the big teams always have good players throughout and we have to keep that in mind.”

That isn’t to say the Cosmos will be completely outclassed by the Red Bull reserves. As Senna notes, the vast roster depletion of their opponent is “a good thing,” opening an opportunity for the Cosmos to do something special. “They are a good team, and play in a higher level that is MLS,” Senna acknowledges, “but we will come out playing the way we know how and look to surprise them.”

How to do that will be the question on the minds of both the Cosmos fans and their organization. For Senna, discipline is key, and setting lofty goals is paramount if they hope to advance in the U.S. Open Cup.

“We go in with a mentality of grandeur,” he says. On the field, we have to go in and enjoy the match with responsibility. From there, let the game play out naturally.

“Fear chips away at the hope of winning, so we go in with a lot of hope and with thoughts to do something big.

“The players are anxious and hopeful — just like the fans,” he says. “[But] it’s good to have hope.”

    • Andrew Bissonette

      That won’t necessarily be true here. Playing against a weaker opponent you may see more gaps open in the middle of the field that get taken advantage of. RBNY has been more successful in MLS with good flank play, but they have certainly tried to play through the middle in the attacking third. The only problem has been that Alexander, McCarty, Luyindula, Steele, etc. have been hesitant to pull the trigger on shots when they have the chance or they’ve made the wrong passing decision. I think we should see a good balance between crossing and playing through the middle on Saturday.