The Cosmos started off their California preseason tour with a 2-0 win over FC Ararat Yerevan at Citrus Stadium on Saturday night. Sebastian Guenzatti posted a goal and an assist and Lucky Mkosana recorded the other goal while Jimmy Maurer and Kyle Zobeck split the shutout.
The Cosmos opened up with a 4-2-3-1 lineup. While the back line and starting keeper were in line with what we typically see (Maurer, Ayoze, Carlos Mendes, Roversio, Hunter Freeman), the first change came at holding mid with Ruben Bover being paired up with Danny Szetela, only the second time we’ve seen the duo paired up to start (the first time being last October in Atlanta). On the attacking end of the midfield, Andres Flores took the left, Guenzatti the right, and Juan Arango took a central role, while Mkosana started up top as the sole striker.
Based on tweets from Simon Allen, a soccer podcaster in attendance, the Cosmos had a chance to go a man up early in the match due to an Ararat red card. They passed on the opportunity. Though Ararat picked up the first shot on goal, the Cosmos would not need the man advantage to take the lead.
Arango got more involved in the play this week, unlike last week’s scrimmage against LIU. His history as a dead ball specialist came into play with a pair of free kicks that forced saves from the opposing goalkeeper. He also set up a shot by Flores that was saved.
The Cosmos made a pair of halftime subs, bringing Mkosana off for Jairo Arrieta up front and bringing Yohandry Orozco on for Bover. The Orozco substitution also changed the team’s shape to a 4-1-4-1 with Szetela as the lone holding mid. This shape did not last long as another pair of substitutions came on in the 61st minute. Zobeck hopped on to replace Maurer and Mike Lahoud entered the match in place of Arango and the shape returned to a 4-2-3-1 with Lahoud taking the spot vacated earlier by Bover, Flores staying on the left, Orozco taking the right and Guenzatti sliding into the middle.
The Cosmos would double their lead in the 69th minute when Ayoze set-up Guenzatti who would convert the chance for a goal.
No more goals for the night, but the Cosmos would make a few more substitutions to end the evening. In the 72nd minute, Niko Kranjčar would make an appearance, entering for Szetela and David Diosa replaced Ayoze. Eric Calvillo took the place of Flores in the 78th and Alexis Velela came on for Guenzatti a minute later.
Arrieta had a single shot that rolled wide. Orozco set up Flores for a shot that was missed and was just wide on a shot of his own after a set-up by Kranjčar.
Unused substitutions for the evening were new striker Yasmani Duk, holding midfielder Adam Moffat, goalkeeper Brian Holt, and midfielder/defender Jimmy Mulligan.
The Cosmos next travel to Chukchansi Park this Wednesday where they will play the Fresno Fuego at 9:30 PM ET. They will then finish the California leg of their preseason on Saturday against the San Jose Earthquakes at Avaya Stadium at 10:00 PM ET.