TICCPod recently had the chance to talk with Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese to discuss the club’s approach to the title match and the possible loss of one of their strikers to international duty.
“It’s going to be a very difficult match. Indy has a good team. They’re doing very well during the season and we know they’re going to be a big challenge, a difficult challenge, but we’re prepared for it.”
While the Cosmos have gone unbeaten at Shuart Stadium since the end of the 2015 season, that chapter is now behind them as they move on a yet undisclosed new home venue. But the intermission between venues will occur at Belson, a stadium the Cosmos are very familiar with, playing four Open Cup matches there in three years with a 3-0-1 record to show for it.
But, the coach insists, the venue doesn’t matter as the club is ready to play wherever is necessary.
“That doesn’t matter,” says Savarese. “We’re just going to concentrate on what we have to concentrate. We have to play anywhere that the game was going to be. Now that we know that it’s going to be at St. John’s, the guys are eager to play. There’s nothing that’s going to take us out of that mentality, our path, where we want to be.”
“For us, it’s the same. We’re going to play in New York and we’re ready for it.”
The NASL Final does come at a tricky time with FIFA dates for international matches falling during the same window and the Cosmos find themselves in a similar dilemma to last year with forward Yasmani Duk on the list of call-ups for Bolivia. The South American nation will play CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers in Venezuela on Thursday before hosting Paraguay on Tuesday.
“Yasmani, we’re looking into if he’s going to be available for our match in the Final so we’ll see how the situation is going to be and at the end, we’ll figure it out when we’re getting closer to there.”
Yasmani Duk was not present at the practice session on Tuesday.
The Cosmos encountered a similar issue in 2015 with Andres Flores potentially set to miss the Final as El Salvador also prepared for a round of World Cup qualifiers. Ultimately, the club and federation reached and agreement and Flores remained in New York and on the bench for the Cosmos’ match against the Ottawa Fury.
The loss of Duk could put the Cosmos in a tight spot on the bench. While Jairo Arrieta has seen extensive time recently, Lucky Mkosana has not been seen since the Cosmos’ win over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers on October 2nd. He picked up a knock in practice before their following match against the Fury and has been missing since. However, Savarese disclosed that aside from Guenzatti, all other players are available for Sunday.
You can hear this and much more on the latest episode of TICCPod.