Savarese Slams Cosmos’ Front Office

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

By JAKE NUTTING

Cosmos logoBROOKLYN, N.Y. — New York Cosmos Coach Giovanni Savarese was bound to be asked for his assessment of Referee Geoff Gamble‘s performance in Wednesday’s match against FC Edmonton. Savarese saw two of his players ejected in a short span in the second half and had a penalty call in his team’s favor in the first half reversed.

Savarese expressed frustration at the situation with the penalty that was — and then wasn’t — in the 37th minute of the 4-2 loss to the Eddies, but the veteran coach’s ire was focused on an unlikely target — the team’s front office.

As Gamble and his assistant huddled on the endline to discuss whether Walter Restrepo had been hacked down by Pedro Galvão inside or outside the box, the sequence was being shown several times and from multiple angles on the video replay board at MCU Park

“I think we are our worst enemies,” Savarese said. “I’m not going to fault a referee that, yes, in the past made us lose games. I don’t even want to go back to mistakes that he made in the past. Today we lost the game. and we lost from the front office. Showing freakin’ videos on top … and showing that to the referee to make a decision. That’s a front office lack of professionalism.”

Savarese said he didn’t ask Gamble if the loop of replays factored into his decision to overturn the initial penalty call, though his frustration over the incident was evident. The typically calm and collected coach was noticeably animated and pounded the podium while questioning the club’s professionalism for replaying the sequence.

Notably, the video board did not show replays of action in the eventful second half in which five goals were scored and two red cards were shown.

Gamble is shown in direct view of the video board, though it’s unclear if he ever looked up as he consulted with his assistant. He also appeared to be speaking with the fourth official on the sideline through his headset.

Dropping three points against the struggling Eddies is a major setback for the Cosmos (4-2-4, 16 points). A win over the Eddies (3-6-1, 10) would have put New York two points out of first place in the North American Soccer League’s Spring Season table as they prepare for two more home matches in Brooklyn before flying to Florida for a match with the league’s current frontrunner, Miami FC (6-1-3, 21).

Wednesday’s match was originally scheduled to be played a few weeks ago. It was shuffled to a weeknight between two league matches to accommodate the team’s surprise exhibition with Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia.

While Savarese had no qualms voicing his opinion on what should be shown on the video board, he did not chastise the front office for the scheduling shuffle.

“I can go back to talk about Saudi Arabia, pushing the game to Wednesday and the guys being tired, but we had the game,” he said. “The game was ours. The game was dominated and we had it in control. I cannot look for excuses that are outside the reality what we didn’t do. The reality is we should have been better to be able to win this game. I wouldn’t look at this game being moved. Those would be excuses.”