The Cosmos started off this match in their traditional 4-2-3-1 formation, but quickly switched to a 4-3-3 as Márquez was subbed off shortly after his penalty conversion.
A physical first 45 minutes, the Cosmos were able to control the match with ease. Eugene Starikov earned a penalty early off a beautiful field and hold up play from right back Ryan Richter; Javi Márquez calmly finished the chance right after. Marco Marchionni, again playing a deep lying role for the Cosmos, found Emmanuel Ledesma wide open in the 18-yard box. The Argentinian took one touch and scissor kicked the ball against the keeper in what could be considered an own goal. Finishing up the half’s goals was a rough pass-back by Richard Menjivar, which resulted in a tap in for the visitors.
The following 45 saw much of the same tactically from the Cosmos, with Mancini and Flores getting shifts towards the end of the half.
Far and away the most productive half of the Cosmos preseason to date, Irvin Herrera saw himself the star of the show. The Salvadorian saw the fruits of his partnership with Amauri, getting on the end of successive counter-attacks produced by the Italian to double the Cosmos lead within minutes. Finally, Andrea Mancini saw his first real moment of brilliance for the Cosmos, attempting and completing an audacious chip of the Dominican keeper from outside the 18 to complete the scoring for the night.
“We are content with the team’s performance during the Dominican Republic tour,” said Cosmos Head Coach and Sporting Director, Giovanni Savarese. “There is still a lot of work to do and we will now return to New York to continue our preparation for the 2017 NASL Season.”
The Cosmos will most likely be flying home tonight ahead of a community event scheduled in Coney Island for tomorrow evening. As of writing, the club has not announced any further plans for preseason matches ahead of their March 25th trip to Puerto Rico FC that opens their NASL campaign.
Some notes as the Cosmos ended their preseason tour in the Dominican Republic
- Walter Restrepo put in possibly his most dangerous shift of the preseason, but saw many of his efforts whistled off-side or as fouls. The trio of him, Starikov, and Ledesma constantly threatened the Dominican back-line throughout the first half.
- One standout of today’s match was Taylor Peay, the former Portland Timbers central defender. Positionally astute and calm on the ball, Peay was a defensive rock in his 45+ minute stint tonight. With the Cosmos only having two primary central defenders on their roster, Peay may have started his case for a spot on the opening-day roster.
- Amauri excelled as a deep lying forward. His flick-on to Richard Menjivar on the wing was crucial in Irvin Herrera’s first goal, and the Italian directly assisted Herrera’s second. However, in front of goal, Amauri is still looking to shake off a bit of rust from the offseason. Consistently striding offside and his best attempt hitting the outside of the post, look for Amauri’s nose for the net to only improve ahead of the season opener in Puerto Rico.
- Speaking to Irvin Herrera at training two weeks ago, the former St. Louis FC striker told TICC that he was brought to New York “to score many goals”. He has certainly not disappointed, bringing his preseason total to three tonight and displaying a bull-in-a-china shop mentality on his runs forward that harkens back to the style of play portrayed by hat-trick hero Gaston Cellerino.