The last time the Cosmos faced Rayo OKC, they played at Shuart Stadium and the visitors ended the match down a goal and three players.
This time, the Cosmos will play on Rayo’s turf. And this could, possibly, work just fine for them.Rayo OKC currently sit in seventh place for season (4-5-4, 15 GF, 15 GA), but are in fifth place for the fall season (1-2-0, 4 GF, 3 GA). Since they last played the Cosmos, they have gone on a five-game undefeated run (2-3-0, 6 GF, 4 GA).
Defensively, they’ve looked strong most of this season, giving up a goal or less in eight of their thirteen games played. Before the two goals they gave up on Wednesday evening to Puerto Rico FC, they had not done this since May 21st, the match before their loss to the Cosmos.
On the flip side, they’ve also only managed to score more than a goal three times this season. Before the 2-2 draw with Puerto Rico on Wednesday, the last time they managed to do that was April 22nd in a loss to the RailHawks.
They’ve also found nearly all their luck on the road, going 1-3-3 at home. While the Cosmos have encountered their fair share of difficulties on road trips, they just posted their second win on the road (a hard-earned one) against Miami last weekend. With the momentum of their win against Jacksonville, a 3-0-0 start for the fall, and Rayo’s home hiccups, the Cosmos definitely stand a chance to come home with three points.
It’ll depend on Rayo, who experienced some changes to their roster recently.
Since their loss to the Cosmos, head coach Alen Marcina has focused on a 4-4-2 formation with Daniel Fernandes a steady presence in the net, starting all 13 league matches and posting a 1.15 GAA. He is currently second in the league with 39 saves and tied for third with four shutouts.
With a back line consisting of Moises Hernandez, Juanan, Futty Danso and Kosuke Kimura looking fairly steady, the recent release of Juanan forced Hernandez into a center back role and set piece threat Michel into the back line from the midfield. Michel leads the team in goals with six, scoring three on penalties and one on a free kick.
Derek Boateng is one of the anchors of the midfield and usually a big, physical factor that must be taken into account, despite his flub which led to a Puerto Rico goal on Wednesday evening. He has most recently paired up in the middle with Pecka. If recent lineups are any indicator, Sebastian Velasquez should probably be on the right wing. Richard Menjivar had seen more time on the left, but was bumped to the bench as Billy Forbes took his spot. Forbes is always a threat to score a goal or set them up and Hunter Freeman will probably have his hands full with him.
Up top, Robbie Findley and Forbes had partnered well, but Forbes was moved back in favor of new loan Devon Sandoval. Findley has found a few impressive scores this season. The bench also contains some interesting options including Ian Svantesson, who brings a physical dimension, especially when fresh off the bench, and Georgios Samaras, who seems to drop further down the depth chart.
Aside from whatever formation or players make the XI, the chip on the shoulder of Rayo is something that must also be considered after the Red Card Wedding in New York and previous history between many of the players on both the Cosmos’ and former Scorpions’ sides. Alen Marcina is certainly no friend to the Cosmos This match ought to reflect this.