The Cosmos took the season series against the Rowdies with a pair of home wins and a draw on the road, but they made it clear on Saturday night there is no love lost between the two teams, even if they do respect their opponents.
“I think today we saw a team that is much better than the way they behaved,” said Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese about their opponents. “This team, against us, is like they looking always for an excuse to say why they’re losing.”
He praised the product on the field, but felt they spent more time finding excuses than finding their game.
“We’re tired. I’m tired,” he continued. “They have a better team than just being complaining so much. They’re a much better team. When they want to play, they’re a really good team. In the first half in Tampa, we had a difficult time to find the ball. But, like in Tampa and here…I mean, they cannot make always an excuse.”
This statement may be due to the statement released by Rowdies owner Bill Edwards on the state of refereeing in the league after the match between the two sides a few weeks ago.
Goalkeeper Jimmy Maurer described how the Cosmos tried to keep cool heads during a match that featured 29 fouls, nine yellows, and a pair of reds.
“For me, I think a lot of us guys were just trying to stay cool, just focus on the game. Whatever happens, happens. If the ref’s making bad calls, whatever it is, try and just keep playing and keep our heads. If they lose theirs, let ’em go and be smart with it. I think we were pretty good at that for the most part of the game.”
Center back Hunter Freeman felt like justice was served after the draw at Al Lang, when a late penalty was awarded to the home team.
“They can say what they want. But, now they know how it feels. ‘Cause we went there and we only got a point out of it on a dubious PK call. That’s soccer, it comes around both ways, and for us it was on the right end tonight.”
The results of that evening in St. Petersburg a few weeks ago, which denied the Cosmos a third road victory, made scoring the winner that much better for David Diosa at home.
“Of course, it felt great,” the defender said with a smile. “Especially against Tampa. For me, I was so happy that we scored against them. That last game, I don’t think it was a PK for me but it’s soccer and it happens and I’m extremely happy for scoring and helping out the team.”
Ultimately, Savarese felt that the best team for that evening won the match and reiterated his point that the Rowdies were a good team that should focus on their play.
“Today we were better and we won and we did what we had to do. Regardless of the ref was a little bit for us or for them, it happens and we have many games that it has gone the other way like that Tampa (away) game at the end. So, I think Tampa is a good team, they should focus on keeping playing.”
You can hear Savarese below.