Savarese: Cosmos “Need to Grow” in Order to Close Out Matches

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by JAKE NUTTING

The team that earned the nickname “Cardiac Cosmos” last year now finds itself on the complete opposite end of the spectrum at the start of this year’s Fall Season.

Instead of notching dramatic goals in the dying moments of matches to come away with positive results like they did last season, the New York Cosmos are letting their foot off the gas late and allowing the opposition to steal points.

Only two days after blowing a lead in the final 15 minutes of their Fifth Round U.S. Open Cup meeting with the New England Revolution, the Cosmos let a 10-man Ottawa Fury FC back into their Fall Season opener with a goal in the 90th minute after giving up virtually no scoring chances throughout the match.

The Cosmos rode the final minutes of stoppage time out to secure the 2-1 win, but Head Coach Gio Savarese wasn’t pleased that the team put itself in that position after thoroughly dominating.

“Towards the end we could’ve done a little bit better because we put ourselves in trouble,” Savarese said. “It was a game that we had in our control from the beginning. They didn’t create as many chances and then we put ourselves in a situation where they score a goal in the last few minutes with nine players and we struggle to finish up. They believed they can tie it and we have to battle the last few minutes, which is not the way we want to finish, especially with the way the game was played.”

This rough week isn’t an outlier for the Cosmos. Six of the team’s nine goals allowed in league play this year have come in the final 15 minutes of matches. Including Open Cup play, the Cosmos have also lost five of the six matches in which they have conceded in the final 15 minutes.

The unfavorable trend is impossible for Savarese to ignore.

“We need to be better,” he said. “I think we got to a point [against Ottawa] when they got to nine players that we got overconfident. They didn’t do much, but at the end they found a way to create a chance, they put it away and now we  are in a difficult situation towards the end of the game.

“It happened many times in the Spring Season. We need to grow, we need to do better, and it was shown I think in the game against the New England Revolution. That was one of the things that we could have done better. As I said, in that game two mistakes and we give the game away.”