Nobody can deny that the Cosmos have looked absolutely disappointing on the road this season. After the 2015 season where they went undefeated in the spring, it took the the club only a handful of games this season to find two late losses. Up to this point, they have dropped all but three away games this season (2-1-6).
With a match coming up this weekend in Puerto Rico, Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese looked ahead at what it’ll take to leave the island with road points.
“There’s been a few matches in that we’ve been, and it starts with the head coach, aggressive to want to get three points even in away matches and that might have cost us maybe to lose even one point that maybe could have given us the Spring Season title or it could have given us a chance to be in a better situation right now in the table.”
“I think if we continue the same way at home and we improve away, then definitely we’re going to be in a very good situation at the end of the year. We have to maintain what we have done well so far, which is winning at home and doing well at home, but now we need to improve definitely when we go away. If we are able to bring a little more points than we have done in the past, then we’ll find ourselves definitely in a good situation at the end of the year.”
At this point, it seems the club is focusing on baby steps when it comes to the road, recognizing that road points, any points, even draws are something they need badly.
“I think it has to do a little bit with mentality, but most of all I think it has to do with the fact that we have to feel OK at certain moments when we go play away that a tie can help us as well.”
To date, the Cosmos have only drawn once, a few weeks ago in Tampa Bay.
Savarese is well aware of what Puerto Rico brings. In their only encounter, the Cosmos walked away 3-0 winners, but encountered physical mismatches on both ends of the field. With the rematch being played in Puerto Rico, with highs expected in the 90s, and with the threats like Hector “Pito” Ramos lurking, it won’t be a walk in the park.
“For me, one thing that I think everyone has learned about this league, there’s never an easy game, especially against a team that is improving game by game, that has interesting players, that have been able to beat good teams. Now that they are playing at home, it’s going to be a very tough match, they’re very athletic, very high intensity, their coach has done a tremendous job to put together a group that is competing.”
“I think if we remember the game we played at home, even though we won 3-0, the game was a lot more difficult than what the result showed. We expect an even more difficult game when we travel down to Puerto Rico.”
The Cosmos will also need to contend with absences as midfielder Yohandry Orozco and defender Alexis Velela remain unavailable due to their recoveries and will not be fit for the match.
Furthermore, there’ll be another absence with Adam Moffat unavailable due to his red card picked up against the Rowdies. While the coach lamented his absence, he’s confident the squad will manage.
“It’s just a shame we’re not going to have him available, due to the fact he had a red card, for the next match.”
“This is a great opportunity for others to show and I’m sure they will do the job and Moffat will be back and be available to keep the team improving and getting stronger. It’s only an opportunity for another player to contribute what he needs to contribute.”
The Scot’s play has been instrumental, as has his performance at the spot, sinking all three penalty opportunities presented to him over the last two games. Savarese acknowledged the goals, but expressed his thoughts on how he approached the penalties demonstrated much more.
“I think it shows his leadership, his confidence, his responsibility to the fact he knows he can step in there and show the group I have it, I’ll take care of it and doesn’t hesitate at all. I think those are great qualities of Moffat that are very important for our team. He’s shown it these past two matches.”
“It’s not only the scoring of the goals. It’s what he contributes on the field as well. I think he’s getting back to his top form.”