Spring Season Preview: New York Cosmos

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2013 FINISH: 9-4-1, 31 points, +10 goal differential
Soccer Bowl Champions, Fall Champions

INCOMING PLAYERS
Hans Denisson, Mads Stokkelien, Jimmy Ockford, Kyle Zobeck

OUTGOING PLAYERS

Kyle Reynish, Chad Calderone, Korey Veeder, Henry Lopez, Chris Rodd, Juan Gonzalez, Satoru Kashiwase

THE SCHEDULE

The unbalanced NASL season means the Cosmos will face all of nine matches in the Spring Championship — five home and four away. They begin the 2014 campaign with a rematch of last year’s Soccer Bowl against the Atlanta Silverbacks. Rivals Tampa Bay and Fort Lauderdale both hold homefield advantage during this shortened season. A trip to Edmonton for game two will be met with a match against a much improved San Antonio Scorpions side at home a week later. New York will also face expansion sides Indy Eleven and Ottawa Fury at home. Of note: a strange Monday night fixture at Hofstra against Minnesota United.

THE STARS

Last season was all about Marcos Senna, Roversio and fellow Spaniard, Ayoze. This year, they are joined by proven NASL striker Hans Denisson and Norwegian dynamo Mads Stokkelien. While the team was impressive last year, the Cosmos were woeful at the forward position. Denissen and Stokkelien are an immediate upgrade to their previous striking core and should drastically improve the Cosmos’ threat up top.

THE ROLEPLAYERS

Several talents rose to the occasion last year during the Cosmos’ memorable Soccer Bowl run. Hunter Freeman found his voice on the backline and is now considered a vital leader in the lockerroom. Danny Szetela bounced back from obscurity with an inspiring season of play. Diomar Diaz was the spark of the team, able to fit in almost anywhere and make a difference.

This year, one addition to the team is expected to add to that engine. Sounders’ loanee Jimmy Ockford has been readily embraced in short time with the Cosmos. His easy going personality has meshed well with the “family” atmosphere of the team, and his play has earned him surprise starts through all of the Dubai friendly matches.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jimmy Maurer

Jimmy Maurer Cosmos

With the Cosmos playing shutdown defense in the 4-2-3-1 system, Kyle Reynish rarely saw much action between the sticks. Nevertheless, he did manage to turn heads en route to an NASL Goalkeeper of the Year award.

Now that he has left the club to join the Chicago Fire, the pressure is on former Red Bull supplemental pick Jimmy Maurer to pick up the slack. Maurer, 25, has a limited level of experience. The most exposure he earned manning the backline came in a dreadful 2011 Atlanta Silverbacks season, playing eleven matches of a four win, 20 loss season. He did, however, manage to catch on with Chilean side Universidad de Concepción shortly there after before coming to the Cosmos.

Reynish leaves big boots to fill for the Georgia native. Judging by the offseason acquisitions alone, the Cosmos are setting themselves up to be contenders this year. Much of that will rely on the yet-to-be-tested abilities of Maurer.

QUESTIONS THIS SEASON:

  • Can the Cosmos maintain the high level of success they set forth in half a season last year?
  • Will Maurer rise to the occasion as the team’s starting goalkeeper?
  • Can they stay in game form and health for the coming U.S. Open Cup run?
  • Will the new strikers deliver?
  • Will the Cosmos improve at the gate despite an undesirable Spring Schedule?
  • Can the Cosmos finally secure that Elmont stadium?

HOW WILL THEY FINISH

Labeled “a sprint” by Commissioner Bill Peterson, the Cosmos need to come out of the gates swinging if they hope to earn their first Spring season trophy.  In order to get that sprint started, they have to earn positive results against Soccer Bowl runner-up Atlanta, a rugged Edmonton FC, a much improved Scorpions side and the Carolina Railhawks away; the only club to beat New York last season.

Despite what many thought last season, New York hardly ran away with the Fall Championship.  A bad start may sink their half season hopes.

Having said that, this season represents too much for the Cosmos to take lightly.  A win during the season opener can carry the momentum needed for the team to continue their perceived “dominance” en route to a third trophy.  From there, the U.S. Open Cup becomes the main focus — until the Fall Championship kicks off.

Prediction: 5-3-1, 18 pts., Spring Champions


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  • Anthony

    I was going to go with 5-2-2 at worst which is still 17 points and the title. This team is essentially the same team that played well last year, not with more chemistry together and two better strikers to help with their weakness last season. Until i see another NASL team play well and consistent enough to challenge its Cosmos title to lose.

    • Scorpions, Strikers and Rowdies have all made noticeable upgrades. Indy will be a cakewalk despite their recent signing and not expecting much from Ottawa either. Carolina at Carolina will also be a huge challenge.

  • Jorge Gonzalez

    Don’t forget about # 13 Sebastian Guenzatti key player in Cosmos title run last season . Young talented player from Uruguay he has Skills and speed on the Midfield he goes from defense to attack in seconds .


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