With the parade of injuries hitting the Cosmos towards the end of the spring season coupled with the loss of players such as Michael Lahoud, Gabriel Farfán and Niko Kranjčar, many have questioned the depth of the roster and its ability to win hardware this year, especially after the exit of the club from the US Open Cup. Many have asked what the Cosmos will do to add to a roster that has lost quality players.
Cosmos head coach and sporting director Giovanni Savarese does not share those concerns, but the club is looking at potential additions to the squad.
“There might be the possibility to bring other players,” stated the coach. “We’re analyzing that, but to be honest with you if we don’t bring anybody else, I’m very content with the group we have. I think we have an extraordinary group and anybody can contribute. We’ll see if we will be able to bring some other players. Right now, as I said, we’re looking for more.”
This faith was further reinforced this past weekend when the Cosmos put out a lineup with five changes to their typical first team choices and held on to a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Fury.
One player getting the start, his first in the league, was Kenyan international David Ochieng who contributed with an assist on the winning goal.
“It’s great when a player like Ochieng is able to step on the field, get minutes and then contribute not only in his role defensively, but as well as creating some situations offensively. That’s very positive, very important. For me, it’s a very positive sign the fact he was able to create that chance, give us this 2-0 and put us in a much better situation. He has to continue to do that, that builds his confidence and there’s other areas as well we need to continue to work with him, but it was a very positive performance by Ochieng.”
In fact, several players shined in their starts that evening with Brian Holt holding the Ottawa guns silent until stoppage time, David Diosa filling in admirably for Ayoze, Adam Moffat scoring a penalty, and Lucky Mkosana creating the penalty opportunity and scoring the game-winner.
If anything, these performances have made Savarese’s job trickier for this weekend.
“No doubt it’s going to be more difficult because now they are showing they can do a good job as well, if they have the opportunity to play they can do well. Now it’s a bit more difficult for me to make my selections. That’s a spot a coach wants to be, to have that difficult situation because everybody is doing well. We don’t want to see just 11 players doing well and that’s it. It has to be an entire roster fighting, trying to get playing time. That’s what the guys are doing right now, pushing each other trying to get minutes and that’s very important.”
Also, there’s more good news, as the Cosmos roster is looking the healthiest it’s been a while.
“The only injury we have is Yasmani [Duk]. More than an injury, it’s a prevention because he’s not ready yet to step in and play fully. For me, that’s the only thing we have to improve. Besides him everyone else is in very good shape and ready to play. We’re in a much better situation right now.”
Duk broke his nose while playing in the final group stage match for the Bolivian national team in the Copa America Centenario. TICC was at the team practice on Wednesday and observed the striker playing with a protective mask.
“He had surgery already, but it’s still very tender and we don’t want to jeopardize anything. Therefore that’s why we are being precautious and making sure he doesn’t have that much contact. He’s practicing regularly, but we’re trying to avoid the contact as of now.”
“We’re seeing how he recovers and we’re hoping it will be one week when he starts going fully in the practices we have.”