The Cosmos are starting to develop a Venezuelan flavor with the recent signings of Juan Arango and Yohandry Orozco, members past and present of El Vinotinto, the Venezuelan national team. While Orozco currently has 25 caps with them, Arango left the national team as their “eterno capitán”, leading the team in caps and goals.
Joining Giovanni Savarese, himself a former Venezuelan international, the duo will seek to build on the successful 2015 season that ended in a league title and hopefully aim for a deeper push into the US Open Cup, where the Cosmos have been stopped at the Round of 16 for the last two years.
TICC recently had a chance to sit down and ask the new signings a few questions. Here’s what they had to say.
“I’ve seen very little of the league,” said Arango when asked about the NASL. “They didn’t really show it in Europe and I saw very little in Mexico. But it’s very interesting because of the big players who have come. The players have moved it to a level that makes it very interesting.”
So why New York? Why the Cosmos?
“I like New York, who’s not going to like it? I’m with a club that has a name, and even though they are not in MLS, big players have come like Pele, like Raul, like Marcos Senna who are symbols of the Cosmos. And because I have a great friend as the coach who gave me the chance. We spoke about this possibility and I came here.”
Speaking of MLS, we had to ask if he’d received offers from teams there.
“I really don’t know. I didn’t ask my agent if there were offers from MLS, but I had spoken with Gio who wanted me to come here and I liked the idea since we had played together some time ago on the national team,” said the midfielder. “The possibility happened and I joined.”
“I don’t think I’ll be out wide,” he also said in regards to where he might play. “It’ll be more central, but I don’t know where exactly yet. Maybe a central attacking mid. I’ll talk it over with Gio, but there are still two months to discuss it, to train in the position he wants. There’s enough time.”
We took the conversation back a bit and asked him to share his experiences with us, primarily where he’d felt he learned the most and where he had experienced the most development.
“In each club I learned little by little. I was in Mexico in 2000; I was very young, and the experience was difficult. Being in Spain, I had been playing outside of my country for some time and had picked up some experience and it went much better. And in Germany, I developed very much.”
Orozco also felt that Germany really influenced his development.
“[I learned the most] in Germany, in Wolfsburg. It was a hard experience, but I learned much,” said the Venezuelan international, who credited a long list of players there with helping him develop. “They were important players who gave me the opportunity also to learn a few languages. For me, it was important because they were at my side telling me if something was good or something was bad.”
With the league already being so physical, the artificial turf at Shuart Stadium (as well as other venues) can be a tricky issue, especially for players who’ve seen so much action.
“Regarding artificial turf, I’m already used to it because I played a year and a half in Tijuana which has artificial turf, so I’m kind of used to it. Yes, the game is more physical, but the idea is to have the ball more to run less. And that’s the idea that Gio has. Possess the ball more to run less and do more damage to the opponent,” said Arango.
“I’ve never liked turf because of the knee problem, but, I’ve played on worse fields,” said Orozco of the subject. “For me, it’s not important. What is important is to show is who really wants to play on the Cosmos, show what you’ve got, and show what you came to do on the Cosmos, which is to be a champion, win titles, and leave your mark, your history here.”
The only regret TICC heard came from Arango on missing the chance to play alongside Raul. Though the two did not really speak during his time in Spain, his years spent at Borussia Monchengladbach, where he played against Raul’s Schalke 04, resulted in them connecting several times. But that seemed to be the only regret.
“I’m very happy. We are three Venezuelans here. Hopefully it all goes well for us and we open the doors for Venezuelan players in New York and with the Cosmos,” he said.
“It’s important for me because Juan Arango has had such an important path for Venezuela, going to Europe,” said Orozco on the thoughts of joining a team alongside the Venezuelan legend.
And for supporters of the Cosmos? They offered this.
“Thank you for your excitement and thank you for your support, for being so welcoming,” said Arango. “I hope to pay back with victory, good games and goals all the affection that you’ve shown me.”
Orozco prefers to let his actions speak for themselves.
“I don’t like to talk much. I like to do things. I’m waiting for the moment to start working, get back in form, tune up, get on the playing field and show the supporters what I really want them to see.”
Some motivated signings by the Cosmos here. Motivated to compete already, but further motivated to play for each other. Expect good things from this group.