Who needs scouts? Cosmos resort to Twitter, Instagram to prep for Atlanta

IMAGE, DAVE MARTINEZ, EMPIRE OF SOCCER

How does a team prepare themselves against a fairly unknown opponent?

Apparently, the answer lies within the construct of social media.

“To be honest with you, what we did in scouting was looking into Instagram pictures, practices we could see through Twitter, and then analyze each of the players they have on their roster, and see them individually and see where they fit on the field,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese said.

It sounds like an odd tactic — perhaps even absurd — until you unearth the details why.

While one would think the New York Cosmos have some familiarity against an Atlanta team they faced both in the season finale and championship game last season, full-on turnover nearly made the Silverbacks unrecognizable. Eighteen players were lost in the offseason, while 16 more were brought in to fill the gaps. Their former head coach Brian Haynes had his job and position eliminated, replaced by Technical Director Eric Wynalda and a reinforced technical staff.

Clearly, this wasn’t going to be a straight rematch of their Soccer Bowl encounter, presenting problems to the Cosmos as they readied themselves for the season opener. Without a budget for proper scouting, the Silverbacks’ turnover forced the Cosmos technical staff to get very creative in preparation.

“There was not too much we could see because it’s a completely new team and some of the players, it’s the first time they have played professional so they were making their debut,” Savarese conceded.

Several members of his technical staff, including Savarese himself, dug into several social media platforms, hoping to pick up on tell tale signs of a gameplan. Once players were identified, the research was on to break down their roster and potential starting XI.

“I had some guys look into it before and then I looked at the pictures myself,” Savarese said with a laugh. “I did a lot to find out, but we have a lot of good guys that know how to do social media.”

How effective were they at predicting the starting XI?

“We only got one wrong, which was good,” Savarese said.

And the research must have been just as effective, as the Cosmos cruised to a 4-0 victory.


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