The Cosmos will look to duplicate the success of their spring opener when they beat the Ottawa side 3-0 behind a brace from Juan Arango and a strike from Adam Moffat. The Canadian side will be looking to put an underwhelming spring season behind them while fielding two issues Cosmos fans have become familiar with, a shrinking roster and injuries.
The Fury had a rough beginning to their season, playing four games on the road, losing three and drawing once. By the time the dust settled, their 2-3-5 record would place them in ninth. Tied for third in fewest goals scored (9), second highest in goals allowed (14) and third in worst goal differential (-5), they will look to improve as they kick off their fall season, again on the road and again at Shuart Stadium. This in the face of a 0-1-4 road record in the spring.
The team continues to boast Romuald Peiser, last year’s Golden Gloves winner, who currently leads the league in saves (31), but is tied for second highest in goals allowed (14).
His center back pairing of Rafael Alves and Timbó may not be fully intact as the latter’s condition is uncertain. Left back Onua Obasi will also be unavailable for the match, further weakening a back line that was beginning to gel and had permitted nothing worse than one-goal losses in their last six matches.
Employing a 4-3-3, head coach Paul Dalglish has usually gone to Jonny Steele and James Bailey at the outside mid positions. His center mid choices have been erratic seeing five players start in the position in their last five matches. Steele’s physicality could cause some complications for the Cosmos at midfield as physical tests have sometimes been a challenge for them.
Up top, Carl Haworth has been a favorite for the attack on the right side. For the remaining two spots, it could become a battle between Dennis Chin, Paulo Junior, and Bryan Olivera as Israeli loan Idan Vered returned back to his home country.
Speaking of roster moves, Dalglish recently disclosed that Canadian national team player Marcel de Jong, who joined the Fury for the spring, will likely not be with Ottawa for the fall.
“I think he has quite a bit of interest, and (rightly) so from his performances with us,” Dalglish told the Ottawa Sun. “He’s a top-level player. He’s the starting left back for Canada. He’s in the prime of his career. He has played at the top level most of his life. Never say never, but it’s pretty unlikely that he’ll be coming back.”
The Fury did make two pick-ups from Canadian rivals FC Edmonton. Mallan Roberts, a defender, was loaned to them towards the end of spring, while fellow defender Eddie Edward left the Eddies to join the Fury.
Dalglish himself will not be on the sidelines, suspended a match after being ejected in the final spring game against Rayo.
On the Cosmos’ end, the New York side will have a few issues to contend with. The departure of Niko Kranjčar to Rangers FC will strip them of some quality in the midfield and the rumored departure of Gabriel Farfán, whose loan expired at the end of spring, would strip them of versatility and depth.
While most Cosmos have returned to full health, defender Roversio suffered another injury in the Open Cup match against the Revolution, this time a hamstring. Losing his quality on the back line will hurt, but between the likelihood of Jimmy Ockford slotting in (as he did nearly all spring), Ottawa’s issues with scoring and the health of Maurer, there should not be much of a drop-off from spring.
The Cosmos should be able to win this match and kick off the fall season with three points.