With a win against top of the table Carolina logged last weekend, the Cosmos will look to prey upon expansion side Miami FC in the first meeting between the two sides. Miami is currently on a five-game winless streak, with an 0-1-1 record at home, giving up three goals in their last home match against Rayo OKC.
Overall, the team has provided some interesting competition. Their first two matches against the Strikers away and the Rowdies at home nearly resulted in 1-0 wins, until late penalties were given up. Since then, the team has gone on a three-game losing streak, one at home, two on the road and given up seven goals in the process.
Alessandro Nesta’s team has some interesting parts to it. Daniel Vega has been his keeper of choice. While he’s come up big in the past, he’s also given up some soft goals and the Cosmos attack would do well to apply pressure to him in the hopes of forcing an error.
Jonathon Borrajo and Hugo Leroux have been the clear options for full back with Mason Trafford and Brad Rusin usually occupying the center back positions. Aside from Leroux, all other members were players for other squads in the NASL last year and have some experience with Gio Savarese’s systems.
Miami also has some decent midfield options. Wilson Palacios and Matuzalem boast overseas experience in Europe. However, some of the players seeing the most time include Adailton and Ariel Martinez who has shown himself to be an offensive threat. Blake Smith and Calvin Rezende have also gotten considerable playing time and will be quick options with decent distribution and vision that the Cosmos will need to be cautious with. Dane Richards can also come off the bench and is a very fast threat. With the Indy Eleven last year, he will have some knowledge of how to play against Gio’s back four.
On the front, Dario Cvitanich is easily the most dangerous of Miami’s offensive weapons. However, his status is unknown. Unavailable last week, the Miami offense clearly missed him in their first game getting shut out. After that, you have two other NASL-experienced options in Pablo Campos (2015 United player) and Jaime Chavez (2015 Silverbacks player).
While the pieces have yet to come together for Miami, there are still some very interesting pieces that could make the Cosmos pay if they’re not careful. However, the potential absence of Cvitanich could also severely impact their ability to finish chances.
The question is what Gio Savarese will deploy. Will he go with the 4-1-4-1 that have earned all his results on the road? Or will he go back to the 4-2-3-1 that he used all last year? And for his two losses on the road to date. With the offensive options on this team less dangerous than the RailHawks, I’d hope he stays with the 4-1-4-1 that has widened their game and presented more offensive options.
We will most likely see midfield options returning in Yohandry Orozco, Juan Arango, and Niko Kranjčar. But there are plenty of questions elsewhere. After struggles up top, will we continue to see Jairo Arrieta up front? Or does Yasmani Duk get the nod? Does Seba Guenzatti continue to be the right side option? Or could we see Andres Flores brought in on the left and Orozco shifted to right? On the back line, is Jimmy Ockford healthy? Or will he be replaced again by Hunter Freeman or maybe David Ochieng? And would a Hunter Freeman slide to the center mean the return of Gabriel Farfan? Lots of questions throughout the starting XI.
If Cvitanich is able to play, I’m saying a 3-1 win for the Cosmos. Without him, I think the Cosmos keep the shut-out.