Cosmos fall to San Jose Earthquakes 1-0

12788457_10154151783321091_1856575295_oThe New York Cosmos dropped their first preseason match of 2016 by a score of 1-0 to the San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday night.

Starting off the night with a 4-1-4-1, the back line looked the same as their last match against the Fresno Fuego. Revealed as the trialist from that match, Gabriel Farfán took the right back spot with Hunter Freeman sliding over and replacing Roversio at center back. Danny Szetela took the lone holding mid spot, and an attacking four of Sebastian Guenzatti and Ruben Bover on the left, Juan Arango and Yohandry Orzoco on the right. Jairo Arrieta got the nod up top.

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GraphicL New York Cosmos

The Cosmos had the first solid chance of the evening when a fifth minute free kick by Arango forced Earthquakes keeper David Bingham to make the stop low.

Aside from another pair of chances from Orozco and Arrieta, the bulk of the chances went to the San Jose side as the half ended scoreless.

The 51st minute saw a breakthrough for the Earthquakes when Ayoze, unable to properly clear off the goal line, delivered a ball to Clarence Goodson, whose left-footed shot bounced off Ayoze and in.

The score would hold for the rest of the match as the Cosmos would be unable to find the equalizer.

The Cosmos made several subs across the course of the second half. Mike Lahoud entered for Carlos Mendes and took his center back position to start the second half. Lucky Mkosana took over for Arrieta in the 56th. Szetela exited for Niko Kranjčar three minutes later. Andres Flores replaced Orozco in the 65th. Eric Calvillo took over for Bover, David Diosa in for Ayoze and Guenzatti out for Yasmani Duk.

Roversio, Kyle Zobeck, Adam Moffat, Brian Holt, and Alexis Velela did not appear.

 

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All in all, this was a preseason match. We won’t win any games 4-0 this early going with the turnover we had.

Maurer was very solid tonight for us. Didn’t get very much help from the backline, but he held his own tonight. Good positioning and decisions all night. No rust here.

Backline was far from stellar as a unit today. Farfán showed some okay things, but as a unit the back four were broken down and numerous occasions, and a botched Ayoze clearance is the reason this match didn’t end a draw. Have to say, was pretty impressed how Michael Lahoud seamlessly slotted into the CB role. His presence, like Niko’s in mid, did a whole lot of good in the second half.

Midfield left a good amount to be desired tonight. They didn’t control the tempo much tonight, didn’t pass the ball very well and did not create bundles of chances at all. Orozco and Bover, however, were bright spots. Orozco showed off his motor and hunger for the ball tonight, great shift. Bover was arguably my MOTM. Covered the whole pitch, strung passes together, and even had a few good defensive roles. Danny and Arango left a lot to be desired. Danny did not fit well in the 4-1-4-1 at all, and I’m pretty shocked Moffat wasn’t given a run out in a position made for him. Juan Arango really wasn’t involved much (not the best thing to say about your top signing and CAM). Seba could have been better but was an okay presence on the wing, but his swap of wings with Orozco took Yohandry out of the game. Arguably my biggest surprise of the night was how Niko Kranjčar came in to the game and immediately settled the midfield down. Would love to see him on this team.

Up top, Arrieta continues to be solid. Much like at LIU, he’s shown himself to be a very active forward who isn’t afraid to pull the trigger at all. His turn and shot in the first half was one of the better chances for the Cosmos on the day.

Not a bad run out by the boys in green, but a lot to be desired. Looking forward to having Duk and Ochieng integrated in the squad. Ready to see how the rest of preseason plays out.

 

Luis

Let’s start this off by saying that this was only the third game of preseason, fourth if you count the LIU scrimmage.

But, this was not pretty.

Jimmy Maurer was fantastic. Most of the reason the scoreline stayed where it was could be tied directly to his efforts.

This game was not Ayoze’s best. His inability to properly clear that ball led to a loss. No real standouts on the back line aside, except for the revelation that was Mike Lahoud. He looked incredible and was crucial on several plays as far as killing chances for the Earthquakes. Farfán looked like a particular weak point, but it was only the second match of his with the team.

Danny Szetela may face some real difficulty this year. He did not look great in the holding mid role, something I would have expected to finally see Moffat take over. He’s much better at pairing off, but if Lahoud sees himself getting called up more as a defender, it could leave few options for Danny. I should also say that Danny is the comeback kid and while I keep seeing difficulty for him, he continues to find a way back onto the XI. NIko’s substitution was an interesting one. His impact was nearly immediate as a sloppy midfield became more composed and the Cosmos visibly began to play their style more and get off the back foot. Hopefully the Cosmos can bring him onto the team.

On the attacking end of the midfield, it was a tale of two Venezuelans. Orozco began to shine as he finally settled down in the second half. Arango was a disappointment. After not seeing him make an impact in the LIU game and rarely hear him called out in match feeds for the last two friendlies, he rarely got involved in the play of this one. Still early, but the Cosmos are going to want him to get more involved soon. It’s almost alarming how little he affected anything at all. Bover was a real standout for the whole team. as he got involved in key plays all over the field demonstrating a versatility and vision for the game. He’s making a case for himself out there.

Up top, Arrieta looked pretty decent. At the LIU game, he looked more willing to pull the trigger more than any of our forwards last year. He looked pretty good tonight, too. One particular play where he dropped his defender and put a perfect first touch on a ball to wheel around and fire had the misfortune of ending up right in the keeper’s gloves, but few Cosmos might have executed that. Unfortunately, Mkosana’s appearance was not that great. He continued to connect plays well, but couldn’t really put himself in a finishing role.

In a broad brush, our defense looked very shaky much of the night and needs to take back control of the defensive third. Our midfield looked VERY sloppy in their passing, trying to force through balls past heavy traffic and getting picked many times unnecessarily. This caused turnover after turnover and resulted in much of the pressure being put on the defense. Our service into the final third needs to be much better. Through balls did not get where they needed to go and aerial service kept overshooting the mark and ending up in areas of little consequence.

But, once again, it’s the third game of preseason. These guys have a month. Gio will figure it out.

 

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As stated a few times in this article, this was not pretty. The inability to control the midfield resulted in the Earthquakes having more quality chances. There was a good amount of sloppy passes, but the good news is that there is still a month to go for this team to get it together.

We saw the 4-1-4-1 on a couple of occasions last year but it was normally with Adam Moffat in the holding role. I can see the 4-1-4-1 being the formation of choice for the 2016 Cosmos team. There is still plenty of time to experiment with a few different things before the Cosmos host the Ottawa Fury to open up the season on April 3rd.

Goal/Backline

I thought the back line was a bit sloppy tonight, but Jimmy was pretty strong. You can not blame him for the goal as Ayoze needed to clear that ball better.

Farfán is a serviceable player, but Freeman needs to be the RB. Roversio was on the lineup but I imagine Giovanni Savarese was giving him a rest. But Farfán to me will be a late game sub. Freeman does well defensively but I just don’t like his first pass out of the back as much as I love his ability to overlap and get forward and play a service.

I will say, Lahoud was a great surprise as he came in and. within minutes. made some key plays on the back line. I was unaware he could play the back line like that. That could come in key with an aging Mendes, very fragile Roversio and a still unseen David Ochieng.

I also am a huge fan of what Diosa brings at the fullback position. He has great pace and makes strong runs deep up the field. You have to root for the ‘Pride of Jackson Heights’

Midfield

Very sloppy from the midfield but Ruben Bover and Niko Kranjčar were the bright spots for me, as well. Bover was all over showing pace and skill on the ball. Also, as stated earlier, Niko really calmed things down a bit when he came on the field.

Another player who I thought had a positive night in the middle was Flores. He really showed his pace down the wings and his ability to create from out wide.

No one else really stuck out to me in a positive light and I was pretty down on the play. I also noted a few occasions where the Earthquakes were given free space to create chances.

However, it was the first time I watched these guys and only their third competitive match playing together. Also, there has been mixing and matching going on so I imagine the midfield has to play itself out as there is a lot of talent on the roster.

Forward 

Arrieta was pretty impressive for me although his chances were limited. He had one quick turn and shoot which was exciting for me as not only was it a nice little skill play, but it showed that we have a guy who is not afraid to have a go at net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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