Preview: Cosmos Look for revenge at Indy Eleven

IMAGE, INDYELEVEN.COM

The date was May 24th and the New York Cosmos hosted the lowly Indy XI. Despite having a tremendous fanbase, the new NASL franchise has barely made an on-field impact.

It seemed elementary that Gio Savarese’s team would pull out the full three points in front of the home crowd.

Not so fast. What followed in the ensuing ninety minutes was a listless display that we’ve come to expect when New York isn’t on their game.

Unfortunately, you can point to that game as one of the main factors to the Cosmos losing out on the Spring Season championship.

Fast forward to August 30th and the situation is a bit different — for the Cosmos at least. Indy XI are still terrible, only stringing together two wins in eight games. However, the Cosmos have suffered quite a few setbacks of their own, placing them in sixth place. Luckily, their tremendous start in the Spring keeps them in prime playoff position for the combined table, but head coach Savarese isn’t looking to sit back and allow other teams to gain ground.

The Cosmos’ first trip to Indy represents more than just a chance to gain the momentum they so desperately desire; it also represents a chance at revenge by burying the team that cost them another trophy.

Danny Mwanga Could Be the Answer!

At this point, there is an open tryout for the striker position on the Cosmos. So far, Mads Stokkelien, Hans Denissen and former Cosmos Alessandro Noselli and Peri Marosevic have not been able to stake their claim. Andres Flores has shown signs of promise but the winger is best used as an alternating option to keep opposing defenses on their toes.

Mwanga is a different story. The 2010 MLS Rookie of the Year nominee seemed destined for stardom. Since then, things slowed considerably. Never one to leave a potential fixer-upper on the table, the Cosmos scooped up the young forward in an attempt to spark their dismal offense. Perhaps the change of scenery will make all the difference as New York is desperate for anyone to put the ball in the back of the net.

Should Mwanga be available, he will more than likely line up next to Hans Denissen in the team’s go-to 4-4-2 formation. His inclusion could give Denissen the ability to drop back into the midfield and provide better passing options, a move which found great success against the Ottawa Fury earlier this season.

Is Marcos Senna Done?

Last year, Marcos Senna was a godsend. He turned back the hands of time and was a general in the midfield, providing the team’s best offensive option while also providing a physical presence against the opposition at defensive midfield. One year later, Senna is finding it difficult to stay healthy. Nagging lower body injuries have kept him out of most games, forcing Savarese to be creative, resulting in questionable results. The Cosmos will definitely need Senna at close to a hundred percent as possible, especially if the team will attempt to be more creative up front.

While Senna’s motivation can never be questioned, the Cosmos will need to explore the possibility that the Spanish star’s body is failing him much faster than expected. The artificial turf that plagues a good portion of the league has to be considered a contributing factor, but the injury bug remains an extreme concern none-the-less. Should he play, Senna would provide the best option on set pieces, where the Cosmos have produced a good number of goals.

Will Hans Denissen Awaken?

The Cosmos knew they were purchasing a player with major surgery looming on the horizon. However, the team did hope to get some semblance of the goalscorer from last season in Hans Denissen. There is still time for him to show that he is that guy. Indy XI bleeds goals, having given up a whooping thirty-six; by far the most in the league. This should be a perfect opportunity to get Hans going. The pressure is there for all of the Cosmos forwards, but considering the money offered to Denissen in the off-season, the team will want to start seeing results sooner rather than later.