Taking A Look At The 2014 Roster – So Far…

Well maybe not just yet!
There is anticipation for sure when it comes to the 2014 season! However for the moment there are plenty of unanswered questions. How exactly will the NY Cosmos look in 2014?

Let’s start by taking a look back at the Soccer Bowl lineup that the Cosmos rolled out onto the field for their last official match – this happened to be the starting lineup that the Cosmos went with for a good part of the second half of the season. Notice the bench players at the bottom of the graphic as well.

2013 Soccer Bowl Lineup Vs Atlanta Silverbacks  (Photo Credit - NY Cosmos)

2013 Soccer Bowl Lineup Vs Atlanta Silverbacks
(Photo Credit – NY Cosmos)

If the season were to start tomorrow – here’s how the Cosmos would look based on the actions that they have taken so far during this offseason:

FORWARDS:
DIOMAR DIAZ- Resigned With The Cosmos Thru The End of 2014 after having a great season for the Cosmos in 2013. His 5 goals were tied for tops during the regular season for the Cosmos while adding two assists as well.

HANS DENISSEN- Recently Signed With The NY Cosmos on 1/2/14 coming from the San Antonio Scorpions. While there he led the team with 12 goals and he brings the Cosmos a much needed striker at the forward position.

JEMAL JOHNSON – While he was injured for a majority of the 2013 season Jemal showed dedication by returning to action earlier than most would have thought and played in the Cosmos final regular season game. He has experience as a forward in his years with Ft. Lauderdale and is sure to give the Cosmos another option as long as he can stay healthy in 2014.

MIDFIELDERS:
MARCOS SENNA – Senna was one of the few players that was signed originally to the NY Cosmos back in January of 2013 and is currently signed with the team through the end of 2014. I can’t say anything that hasn’t already been said about Senna and what a year he gave us. Lets just hope he has more in store in 2014. Keep in mind, Senna will be 38 after this season. His time as a Cosmos player may be limited after this year at that age?

DANNY SZETELA – Szetela re-signed with the Cosmos on January 7th after what was a great come back year for him as a player. He quickly became a fan favorite of the Five Points as well as head coach Gio Savarese. And what’s not to like about him – he was a consistent starter who always gave a gritty performance – look for more of that in 2014!

SEBASTIAN GUENZATTI- “Seba” re-signed with the team recently on January 3rd after having a great 2013 season with the NY Cosmos. The Queens NY native is only 22 years old and gained solid experience last season starting 10 games including the Soccer Bowl. Many fans will remember him for his game winning goal against Minnesota United back in September. At this young age he provides the team with a solid core player that could be part of the team for years to come.

DEFENDERS:
AYOZE GARCIA – Versatility is one of the major reasons why the Cosmos wasted no time in re-signing Ayoze back in November shortly after winning the 2013 Soccer Bowl. Earlier in the season Ayoze was featured as a Midfielder. However soon he was called upon to play left back and performed marvelously. As the season progressed he became a fixture in Coach Gio’s squad where I am sure that he will remain in 2014.

HUNTER FREEMAN – The right back position was on lockdown all season with Hunter’s name all over it. He started every game of the season for the Cosmos and was one of the pillars of their dynamic defense. With many years of experience in MLS, Hunter has chosen to come back to the Cosmos to pick up where he left off in 2013 – stifling the opposition on defense.

CARLOS MENDES – The first official signing for the NY Cosmos back in 2012 and the captain of the team is signed through the end of 2014. Nothing fits Carlos better than to play in his home town of Long Island for the NY Cosmos. The team benefited from his gritty defensive play as well and he will be back at it in 2014.

HUNTER GORSKIE – Hunter was cruising right along at either left or center back positions through the first 8 games of the season until an injury to his knee ended his season. Up until that point he contributed solid defense to the team and looks to return healthy in 2014.

GOALIE:
JIMMY MAUER – As of right now he is all the Cosmos have in the net. If we go off his 2013 season stats then we’ll be ok right? He did not give up a goal the entire season! But unfortunately the sample set is a small one. He only played in one match. Albeit a clean sheet in that one match, he did serve as a serviceable back up to Kyle Reynish in 2013. But the question is, can he take on a full season as the starter for the team?

BENCH:
HAGOP CHIRISHIAN – Hagop re-signed with the Cosmos in early December. Speed is the number one thing that I can recall when Hagop entered the game. Hagop gives the Cosmos his speed as a midfield option and was utilized mostly as a solid late game substitute in the second half of matches.

DANE MURPHY- If we go back in time to the previous re-incarnation of the Cosmos, you will find Dane there. While “Murph” did not register much playing time in 2013, in my opinion this was a sentimental re-signing for the Cosmos. But lets see if he gets into matches this season and shows why the team picked him up for another year.

So far the Cosmos have made great efforts to lock in a solid core of players. Heck if you take a look at what I’ve listed above, I would say that the team has a solid looking starting line up if they needed to field a team tomorrow. Keep in mind however that the 2014 Cosmos will have a huge bulls eye on their backs. They will need to up their game a bit more than they did in 2013. With that said they could use another impact player up front in my opinion. Who that player is remains to be seen, but hopefully the team makes one more impact player move to the roster.
In addition to that impact player, here are a couple of other names that I hope the Cosmos do lock in and sign prior to the 2014 season:

MUST SIGN PLAYERS:
ALESSANDRO NOSELLI – In my opinion he was a solid option off of the bench for the Cosmos. Each time he came in as a substitution for the Cosmos he made an impact right away and on a couple of occasions, came off the bench with a goal. While he may not start for the Cosmos in 2014, in my opinion, they should still pick him up and have him come off of the bench again as a solid option. Furthermore, should the team sustain an injury to one of their forwards, Noselli can fill in very nicely as a back up striker.

ROVERSIO – A quiet guy but a beast on defense. He always seemed to be one step ahead of the offense and his lightning speed was a staple of the Cosmos defense. In my opinion, not re-signing Roversio could be the biggest mistake the team makes this off season.

HENRY LOPEZ – In my opinion the most over-looked player in 2013. He had come in as a substitute in the first two matches of the year and won a match with a goal. Not sure why he would not see much playing time after that but he would eventually play in the final match of the regular season and score his second goal of the season against Atlanta. At 22 years of age he also brings youth to the Cosmos.

PAULO MENDES – Paulo had a respectable season for the Cosmos in 2013 as he made 8 appearances for the team. He would come on stronger in the second half of the season and scored two goals. Not sure if there is room however for Paulo as the midfield seems a bit crowded right now with Senna, Szetela and Guenatti.

Who else the team signs will be fun to watch over the course of the next few months. Team COO Erik Stover confirmed to me that the team is not done signing players yet and that there is more to come in the coming weeks.

The team has only parted ways definitively with three players so far. A tough loss in my opinion was Kyle Reynish who signed with the MLS Chicago Fire earlier this month. Say what you want about Reynish’s inconsistency, but to me, a goalie that can give you five clean sheets through 14 matches is ok in my book. He will be missed at least by this fan.
Edison Bilbao has also left the team and will be playing in the Malta Premier Leagues.
Lastly Satoru Kashiwase has returned to his original squad in Japan after being with the Cosmos on loan.

If you hear any rumors about players coming to the Cosmos I would love to hear about them. Place them in the comments section below or email me at cosmossoccerfan@yahoo.com.

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