The New York Cosmos travel to Miami for the second this this season. They’ll face a new-look team that has begun to put the pieces together to force results, pieces mostly acquired over the last few weeks at the reported cost of about two million dollars.
The last time the Cosmos faced off against Miami, defensive meltdowns led to a 3-0 drubbing by the New York side, a scoreline that could have been much higher had the Cosmos finished additional chances. The loss was and remains the worst one in Miami’s short history, capping an 0-2-4 run where they gave up twelve goals while only scoring six.
In the days that followed, Miami acquired Armada holding mid Richie Ryan for a reported $750K transfer fee. Shortly after, Michael Lahoud was recalled from his loan to the Cosmos and reportedly sold by Philadelphia to Miami for $300K. Kwadwo Poku was another signing to the Miami side, also reportedly going in the $700K-$750K range. The Cosmos took one last hit as Gabriel Farfán’s loan came to an end and Miami bought his contract from Chiapas of Liga MX.
During this span of acquisitions, Miami has seen a marked improvement in nearly all categories across the board, going 1-3-1 with three shutouts and permitting only four goals overall, three of them coming against Minnesota.
The offensive side of things is where Miami has fallen further than before with only three goals scored in the five-game span, one of those coming from the spot and only one coming at home.
Their starting XI reflects plenty of change since the last time they faced the Cosmos, abandoning the 4-1-4-1 for a 4-1-2-1-2.
If last week’s draw against the Strikers is any indicator, Jonathon Borrajo will continue to occupy the right back spot with Rhett Bernstein to his left at center mid. Mason Trafford, formerly on the left side has moved to the middle, bumping Adailton to the bench, as newcomer Farfán takes the left.
The questions start at midfield. While Ryan is the preferred holding mid, his absence last week bumped Lahoud back into his spot and allowed Poku to take the right side. The return of Ryan would put that right side into question. Blake Smith will probably take the left with Ariel Martinez pushing up ahead of them, just behind the two forwards, typically Jaime Chavez and Dario Cvitanich.
Last weekend’s lineup was a surprise, but expect the Cosmos to return to a more typical starting XI with Yasmani Duk as the only player unavailable.
Jimmy Maurer should return to net with Hunter Freeman, Roversio, Carlos Mendes, and Ayoze in front of him. Seba Guenzatti, Juan Arango, and Yohandry Orozco should be back in the attack, but a few question marks remain. Last week, Andres Flores, Adam Moffat, and Lucky Mkosana had very productive starts and the question now becomes whether those efforts were enough to displace Ruben Bover, Danny Szetela, and Jairo Arrieta.
Despite a new look line-up and notable improvements, expect the Cosmos to come away with the win in this one.