The New York Cosmos took on the Fresno Fuego this evening in their second match of this West Coast tour.
The lineup was a new one for Cosmos fans as they rolled out with a 4-4-1-1 but the highlight was the mystery trialist who got the start at right back. Other than that, the rest of the lineup was something you can expect for a second preseason friendly. Experimenting with formations and getting time for everyone is clearly what head coach Giovanni Savarese had in mind during this game.
Wearing white tops and green shorts, the Cosmos pressured early, seeing a Hunter Freeman set piece turned aside by the Fuego keeper.
The Cosmos kept most of the pressure on early, as it was not until the 26th minute that Cosmos goalkeeper Brian Holt was called into action. Holt was equal to that task and then a few moments later, on the counterattack, the Cosmos were able to break though. Yohandry Orozco was able to get the goal in a solo effort.
The Cosmos were able to get a second goal a few moments later as Andres Flores played a ball into the box that new signing Jairo Arrieta was able to put in.
The Cosmos held that lead into the half, despite a few efforts from the Fuego. While we were following the game on Twitter, clearly Orozco’s play seemed very positive, I was also happy to see that David Diosa was playing solid.
Despite being listed as a forward, Diosa has now featured at the fullback position a number of times for the Cosmos and he always uses his pace to get into very advanced positions and that seems to have continued this evening.
The second half saw the debut for the Cosmos newest signing Yasmani Duk as right out of the tunnel he came on for Arrieta. The Cosmos seemed to target Duk a bit in the second half as he would get some shots on target and then get called for offsides as well.
In the 61st, the Cosmos subbed out Flores and the mystery trialist and on came Ruben Bover and Niko Kranjčar. This changed up the formation a bit as the Cosmos, in complete control,went to a very unconventional 3-5-2.
Opportunity was the word of the night as the Cosmos then brought on Eric Calvillo for Sebastian Guenzatti, who seemed to have a much quieter game.
The Fuego were able to get one back in the 69th minute though. Joao Da Rosa got the credit on the goal. This was the first goal the Cosmos have given up this preseason, including the LIU scrimmage in Brooklyn.
After the goal, the Cosmos ended their three in the back experiment as they took of Juan Arango and Orozco and brought on Lucky Mkosana and Ayoze.
Finally, Alexis Velela got a late look coming in for Diosa. Velela, who is normally a center back was playing out the game in the fullback position.
The Cosmos had one more opportunity on a lovely through ball to Lucky, who was able to finish but the side judge brought his flag up and the final score was Cosmos 2 – 1 Fuego.
Overall, it seemed like the Cosmos had control of this game the whole time. Even though they gave up a goal, it was at a time when they were experimenting with three in the back to give the midfielders some minutes.
This should have been a good tuneup for the final and biggest match of this California tour on Saturday night against the San Jose Earthquakes.
Experimentation clearly ruled the day. Let’s pop in Hunter Freeman as a center back to rest Roversio and get the mystery trialist a chance to play.
Let’s try out some new formations. A 4-4-1-1 and a 3-5-2 before returning to four in the back.
All-in-all, this is a pretty satisfying outcome. And I coudln’t care less about the score. Gio toyed around with a lot of ideas.
I normally don’t like a 3-5-2. I know Atlanta had some success with this last fall, but I don’t like the lack of stability in the back. For that matter, I’d rather leave on DM on the field, keep the four in the back and turn the rest to the attack, if necessary. But, still, good to see new things tried. And when better to try them than when you’re up against a PDL side by goals.
We had a small exchange with the Cosmos Match Twitter account and got a better picture of the later stages of the second half. After the one Fuego goal, the formatiion reverted to something Cosmos fans are more used to seeing.
I’m also happy that Duk got his first minutes. We played around with Bover’s versatility. We tested Velela’s ability in a full back role. We tried using one defensive miid to free up the other mids for attack.
I’m curious to learn more about this previously unknown trialist, too.
Positive things all around. Onwards to San Jose and a stream (we hope)!