Preview: New York Cosmos host Jacksonville Armada FC

Arrieta Cosmos

by JAKE NUTTING

After narrowly escaping Miami with a winner through a fortunate deflection off the leg of Lucky Mkosana, the New York Cosmos have a short turnaround. They host Jacksonville Armada FC who finished tied for dead last in the Spring Season standings but now find themselves with a shot at the top spot in the Fall Season — if they can come away with a win in New York.

Jacksonville’s poor finish in the spring was a slight misrepresentation of the team’s actual form. They finished the spring with a three-game unbeaten run and have extended that through the first two weeks of the fall with a 1-1 draw at Tampa Bay and a 2-1 win over Puerto Rico FC at home.

Wednesday’s match will be the second of three that the Cosmos are playing in eight days. Following their meeting with Jacksonville, they will hit the road again for a meeting with expansion side Rayo OKC.


Match Information

Wednesday, July 13, Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium, 7:30 p.m. ET

TV/Streaming: ONE World Sports, oneworldsports.com

Referee: Mathieu Bourdeau

Last Meeting: Cosmos W, 2-0.


Cosmos’ attack vs. Jacksonville’s defense

It’s easy to dismiss a team that finishes at the bottom of the standings, but really not much of that can be laid at the feet of Jacksonville’s defense, which has been steadier than the numbers suggests. They’ve allowed 13 goals through their first 12 matches but have only conceded multiple goals in a match twice, and those were against New York and Minnesota, two of the league’s best attacks. Tyler Ruthven has proven to be an excellent addition at center back and Karl Ouimette was impressive in his first match after being loaned out by the New York Red Bulls. The one pitfall to Jacksonville’s defense has been persistent errors from keeper Miguel Gallardo. The team, though, has moved away from Gallardo and has gotten confident performances from Sean Lewis in their last two matches.

Two game-winning goals in your first two starts of the year is about as good as it can get for a striker. So Lucky Mkosana should be heading into the match brimming with confidence. It will be interesting to see if the Cosmos stick with him over Jairo Arrieta, who missed last week for the birth of his child but has also suffered a dip in productivity over the last two months.

Advantage: Push


Jacksonville’s attack vs. Cosmos defense

Jacksonville’s attack is still in need of improvement if the second-year club hopes to make a serious move up the table. They’ve only tallied eight goals this year and have been blanked six times. This past week’s 2-1 win over Puerto Rico is the first time they’ve recorded multiple goals in a match since their second match of the spring. The team signed Swedish attackers Alexander Andersson and Niklas Maripuu during the break but neither has yet to feature in a match while they await international clearances. Last year’s leading scorer Alhassan Keita is out with a hamstring injury, meaning Jacksonville will be leaning on Jemal Johnson and Pascal Millien to spark the attack.

Brazilian center back Roversio is once again out with injury, so the Cosmos will look to either David Ochieng or Jimmy Ockford to slot in. Ochieng did well in his first start in the fall opener, but the club went with Ockford down in Miami. The real question heading into Wednesday is how the team will handle the keeper position. Shockingly, Jimmy Maurer was benched in Miami for Brian Holt despite the fact that Maurer still leads the NASL in Goals Against Average.

Advantage: Cosmos


Midfields

Defensive midfielders Mechack Jerome and Kevan George are an underrated pairing in the NASL. The two players provide a rock solid defensive wall between the opponent and the final third. Zach Steinberger has been solid if not overly convincing in central midfield since joining from the Houston Dynamo.

Expect Jacksonville to cede most of the possession to New York and look for the counter, which should play well into the Cosmos brand of play. Juan Arango had an uneventful night in Miami while substitute Andres Flores created the second goal with an incredible give-and-go with Yohandry Orozco. Sebastian Guenzatti continues to languish out on the right wing, floating between invisible and close to impactful during matches.

Slight Advantage: Cosmos


Coaches

First-year head coach Tony Meola has much work to do, but you have to respect the way he’s been able to keep his players motivated in spite of an abysmal end to the spring. They have rarely looked outclassed this year and only seem to be missing one or two pieces to get them over the hump. New York’s Gio Savarese appears to be wavering in confidence when it comes to some of his starters. He showed moxie benching longtime keeper Jimmy Maurer, sending a clear message to all the veterans on the roster that no one’s spot is guaranteed.

Advantage: Cosmos


X-factor

This one kind of writes itself. In a year and half’s worth of matches, Jacksonville has unbelievably still never registered a win on the road. Wednesday would be a terrific time to start, as they’re going up against a Cosmos side that has finished as winners in each of their six home matches this year.

Advantage: Cosmos


Prediction: 1-1 Draw


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  • kvbt

    This is one of the reasons the Cosmos struggle with attendance. Sunday evenings are hard enough, but Wednesday evenings in Hofstra? As somebody who lives in NYC (relies on public transportation, no car, etc) and wants to be able to attend Cosmos matches more regularly, I wish the team could have a proper Saturday evening/afternoon and/or Sunday afternoon home schedule. But no chance of that while we’re in this stadium.

    • Larry\’s a Simpleton

      There isn’t a team in MLS or the NASL that doesn’t mid-week matches. Complaining about the f.cosmos having to play tonight is just spinning. All you guys do is complain no matter what day of the week the f.cosmos play. Rather than blaming the schedule, why cant you just except the fact New York just doesnt care a bit about the f.cosmos?

      #ITAINTEASYBEINGANINDEPENDEDNTSOCCERCLUB

      • OpenCupFan

        Larry is right here, teams have games on all days of the week.
        .
        If being INDEPENDENT was easy everyone would do it.
        .
        Support your local INDEPENDENT soccer CLUBS!
        .
        #ProRelforUSA.
        .
        #GreenTideWorldWide

      • Larry needs employment again

        Larry….
        #Itsnoteasybeingstuckasaformerpathmarkstockboystuckinagirlsbody or
        #alwayslosingtothecosmos or
        #myteamlost7-0toredbullNY or
        #myrealnameiscynthia

  • Larry\’s a Simpleton

    Hurry up and get those $5 tickets before they’re all gone!

    • slowleftarm

      If only those cosmos fans could get 2 free tickets from Modell’s, like man city lite fans, attendance would be up.

      • The Real Insider

        About 10K seats per game at NYCFC Games are giveaways. This is done to make it seem like each game is a big event when, in reality, interest in the team is minimal. Trust me here.

        • Larry\’s a Simpleton

          27ooo per game at yankee stadium! did the f.cosmos get a total of 27000 for the entire spring season.

          NYCFC is new yorks hometown team. Deblasio said so!

      • Larry\’s a Simpleton

        says the guy who follows red bull 3

        • slowleftarm

          So that makes you a fan of City Football Group team 3 or 4? Oh yeah this team bleeds of New York

    • rest of world

      It’s more than you can afford larry….I mean cynthia.
      Use vagisil…will make your rash go away sooner.

      • Larry\’s a Simpleton

        boo hoo hoo. just cant accept the f.cosmos are totally irrelavant to the nyc sports scene. after about 1500 show up tonight whats next $2.50 seats?

        • Dr. Freud

          You are a desperate lonely man who is unwilling to work on his girth, look for a job or accept his sexual identity. You are at the point where many people become a danger to them selives or others. I urge you to seek help.

  • Kevin

    Jake totally agree about Guenzatt languishing, Aragon, arrives have faded. Absolutely love Orozco and Flores. Hopefully Duk is back as well. As for the game, im coming from my home on the Jersey Shore. Have to support our team.

    • Larry\’s a Simpleton

      ur gonna be very lonely.

      • rest of world

        Not as lonely as you Larry, I mean cynthia.
        So lonely you had a sex change.
        Sorry Pathmark didn’t work out for you either.

    • Larry\’s a Simpleton

      why dont you save yourself the trip out to long island and stop at red bull arena. better stadium. better team. better league.

      • Joe Jobs

        “why dont you save yourself the trip and stop at red bull arena. better stadium. better team.”

        You are right Larry Loser, they are better than NYCFC.

        F* Hofstra and attendance this year. All that matters is winning, like we did against you. Next year the club will reboot.

        Stop hating against teams and simply, Simpleton, support soccer.

      • rest of world

        Larry, I mean Cynthia. Once you stop wearing pants…it’s much more comfortable on your new vagina. Keep a mister nearby. Doctors can only do so much.

        • smurf040

          We didn’t see “Larry vagina” for a few weeks after that touchdown the Rudbulls scored against his crappy team!! All of the sudden he has grown tiny balls!!! lol!!

      • Larry had a sex change to love himself up

        Why dont you save yourself the post and go to #howtomakemynewvaginawork
        Larry, i mean cynthia.

        • james w

          agree that people should save their trips out to long island and stop at red bull arena which is a more convenient better stadium. better team. better league. and the future of US soccer, supporting homegrown players – I know the cos-shmos aren’t doing sh-t in the area for youth development…

  • rebel fighter

    Get out of Long Island. Move to the city. Marketing team is horrible. Go Cosmos!!!!

  • smurf040

    How I wish the Cosmos would get their stadium. Boy I wish they would. Then you’ll see what soccer can become in N.Y.


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