This is Cosmos Country Blog — July 26, 2013 at 5:38 pm

Cosmos Find Success On London Trip

Cosmos vs. Leyton Orient (Image Credit: New York Cosmos)

Cosmos vs. Leyton Orient (Image Credit: New York Cosmos)

Although the New York Cosmos returned from their trip to London without a win, the teams positive mentality was expressed in the postgame comments of coach Giovanni Savarese, stating that this was exactly what the team needed before their August 3rd tilt against Fort Lauderdale.

And it was. Ignoring the lack of professionalism shown by their original opponent, Watford F.C (cancelled the match in favor of playing sister club Granada C.F. two days before), these friendlies showed what the Cosmos have the potential to do, and the steps that still need to be taken.

The two friendlies against League One’s Leyton Orient and Gillingham F.C. saw Savarese try out essentially every player on the roster, from new acquisition Roversio to former Cosmos PDL goalie Chad Calderone. Walking away from London 0-1-1, the Cosmos proved that they are poised to do big things when they get stateside.

I know, a loss and a tie doesn’t sound that promising, but League One is about on par if not a little better than NASL. So playing these teams close, all while trying out everyone on the roster, leaves a hopeful future for the ‘Mos when they have a concrete starting 11.

While it is tough to truly gauge the games due to the lack of a TV stream and the closed-door nature of the friendly (in Gillingham’s case), the firsthand response to the Cosmos and their style of play was mostly positive.

The aggression showed by the Cosmos throughout both games is a step in the right direction. Attractive and exciting football is what fans will want to see, and with loads of talent working up front, there should be no worry about offense. There were shots aplenty in both matches, and if finishing is a little more clinical in the future, the goals will follow.

Firsthand accounts from the Orient match say that the Spanish winger Ayoze is poised to be the real star of this squad, and with Marcos Senna distributing from the center, he could be the league’s top player. This team has loads of talent, and with the players and staff they have, they should have no problem winning the soccer bowl this year and being able to handle most if not all NASL competition going forward.

It is also worth noting that the ownership of the Cosmos did a fantastic job of setting these friendlies up, especially for arranging the Gillingham match on such short notice.

However, it wasn’t all perfect for the Cosmos. Set piece defending seemed to be a persistent problem throughout both matches. Orient made them pay early after a lapse in man marking and concentration saw a broken play open the scoring in the O’s favor.

Reports out of Gillingham said that the starting backline was a bit sluggish, which doesn’t sound too much different than our own U.S. national team. Only game-time experience can solve problem’s of concentration, while Savarese should make it a point to work on set pieces leading up to August 3rd.

Nerves obviously played a big role in these matches as well, not for seasoned vets like Senna and Ayoze, but certainly for some of the younger players on the pitch. That too can be solved by playing matches, and these two games did a great job of providing the players with a team other than amateur clubs like Charterhouse and Newtown Pride.

When I first heard of the amount of offensive power the club was signing, I like most others was excited for what the future held. Defense was a quiet concern, but after the most recent signing of Brazilian fullback Roversio, the back appears to be fortified, and with first match jitters out of the way, the only thing left is August 3rd, and the opening match against Fort Lauderdale.

After seeing the players, formations and results of the last two games, I would like to see the Cosmos come out in a 4-2-3-1 formation against Ford Lauderdale, with Marcos Senna playing as the attack mid in the center, spraying balls out wide to Henry Lopez and Ayoze for the strikers (Either Stefan Dimitrov or Alessandro Noselli) to mop up.

The squad possesses the ability to run teams down with consistent attacks and possession, and if the backline holds strong, other NASL clubs will find it difficult to contain the Cosmos. Sure, all this is conjecture, but with the game only days away, the time for debating formations and players has finally come.

The road has been long and often bumpy, but after all these years, the Cosmos have taken the field once again, and on the 3rd, the return will have officially been completed.

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