New York Cosmos Preseason Recap

Cosmos Preseason

by JAKE NUTTING

The New York Cosmos wrapped up their preseason this past weekend with a 3-0 loss to the USL’s Charleston Battery. The away result was the most lopsided defeat for the Cosmos, who finished with five wins and two loses overall in a preseason that saw the club also travel to California and Florida.

Notably, their only losses of the preseason came in their only matchups with U.S.-based professional competition. The club easily dispatched Armenian first division side, FC Ararat, but dropped a tune up to MLS’ San Jose Earthquakes by a score of 1-0 to go along with the defeat in Charleston.

The Cosmos had no trouble when it came to taking care of business against the college and amateur sides that made up the other half of their preseason fixtures. Their opening match against Gio Savarese’s alma mater Long Island University ended 2-0 in their favor. They replicated that success with two convincing results over amateur sides Fresno Fuego, Miami United and Boca Raton FC.

Tight Lines: If you throw out the most recent three-goal defeat to Charleston, the Cosmos had a solid defensive showing throughout the preseason. The backline kept the opposition scoreless in three matches and only allowed more than one goal in the Charleston match. Captain Carlos Mendes and Ayoze looked steady as ever in action, and Jimmy Ockford appeared to slot comfortably back into central defense after arriving on loan. His performance should give comfort after the loss of Roversio to injury. David Ochieng, however, continues to be a question mark. He earned his first start with the Cosmos this weekend, making his performance a focal point in their loss to the Battery.

Over-Loaded Midfield: The Cosmos have boasted one of, if not the most, dynamic attacking midfields in the NASL since they began play in 2013 — and that is not a trend that seems likely to end this season. This year’s midfield is considerably more attack oriented — with Danny Szetela, Adam Moffat (who didn’t play a minute of the preseason), Michael Lahoud and rookie Eric Calvillo being the only defensive-minded midfielders listed on the roster. Savarese played into this imbalance and implemented a 4-1-4-1 twice this preseason to drastically different results; first in the win over Miami United and then again the loss to Charleston Battery. The returning Andres Flores and Ruben Bover, along with newcomer Yohandry Orozco, all had moments where they impressed in leading the attack. However, despite those performances, Savarese has always tinkered with his starting midfield, and this year, he has the option to continue that trend.

Jockeying Up Top: Lucky Mkosana is the only forward from last year’s roster and while the Zimbabwean acquitted himself well with a goal and assist this preseason, he appears to have stiff competition up top. Loanee Yasmani Duk strutted his stuff in the Florida leg of preseason by netting three goals and showing dynamism in all of his appearances. Jairo Arrieta cannot be easily dismissed. The 32-year-old bagged a goal himself, and his pedigree from past seasons at high levels could help him edge out the younger Mkosana and Duk.

RESULTS: 
LIU (W, 2-0)
FC Ararat (W, 2-0)
Fresno Fuego (W, 2-1)
San Jose Earthquakes (L, 1-0)
Miami United (W, 3-0)
Boca Raton FC (W, 3-0)
Charleston Battery (L, 3-0).

GOAL SCORERS:
Yasmani Duk (3)
Andres Flores (2)
Hunter Freeman (1)
Lucky Mkosana (1)
Ruben Bover (1)
Yohandry Orozco (1)
Niko Kranjčar (1)
Jairo Arrieta (1)

ASSISTS:
Ayoze (2)
Lucky Mkosana (1)
Andres Flores (1)
Sebastian Guenzatti (1)