The New York Cosmos continued their trip in Dubai with a pre-season match against Al Wasi. Coach Gio Savarese was looking for better things after their first pre-season match.
“We went over some things we didn’t like in the last game, so now we want to see the players improving and learning and of course having better fitness. Now we’ve been here in Dubai for a few days and become acclimated to the weather and time change, so I think this will be a good game. It’s is a friendly, but we still want to play well and win, so hopefully we can do that.”
The Cosmos would come out of the gates aggressive. Two minutes into the match Marcos Senna would blast a shot from approximately 30 yards out that would just sail past the post for a near miss. We’ve seen Senna nail shots like that in 2013 – a miss like this in preseason tells me there could be more of those goals in 2014! With that being said, he would get a second chance in no time. In the 7th minute, Hunter Freeman delivers a corner kick that Senna masterfully finds and strikes with his foot into the back of the net inside the right post for the Cosmos first goal of the pre-season and gives them a 1-0 lead.
In the 27th minute Al Wasl drew even when one of their strikers managed to break away on a questionable off side call and tap in a cross past Mauer for a goal.
Starting out the second half, the Cosmos would send the same players to the pitch. Not one player was subtituted as it seems coach Savarese was true to his words that he was looking to build the endurance of many of his starters. A welcomed sight to see throughout the match was Jemal Johnson who is healthy this year after missing almost all of 2013. Johnson would send a strong strike from about 20 yards out that just nearly missed as it would go over the cross bar. A very encouraging sign for the Cosmos.
In the 64th minute the ‘Boys in Green’ would finally come back with some more of the agressive offense they showed in the first half. Hunter Freeman placed a beautiful pass from the right side into Jimmy Ockford who would head the ball into the back of the net and give the Cosmos the 2-1 advantage. Ockford is on loan from the Seattle Sounders and is looking to make an impact during his time with the Cosmos. Looks like he’s off to a good start.
In the 90th minute Paulo Mendes was fouled in the box resulting in a Marcos Senna penalty kick. Senna would nail the kick but would get booked for a yellow card since he used a stutter step to fire the goal. Senna has used this same approach in previous matches during 2013 successfully but clearly the referee was not having it today. He would have to take the shot once again. This time he rifled the ball to the left side and past the goal tender for his second goal of the match giving the Cosmos a 3-1 lead which would also result in the final score.
The match saw the first action of the season for Ayoze who did not play in the pre-season opener. It was encouraging to see Ayoze picking up where he left off last season as in the first half he would send a well placed cross to Jemal Johnson that almost found the goal. Who could forget Ayoze’s passes during 2013 especially his pass to Senna in the Soccer Bowl last November!
It was also encouraging to see Diomar Diaz play well into the second half after having to be lifted during the first preseason match due to cramps. Today he would make it to the 60th minute of the match at which he was replaced by Sebastian Guenzatti. Other substitutions for the Cosmos included Jimmy Nealis and Hagop Chirishian who would replace Ayoze and Jemal Johnson in the 75th minute. Paulo Mendes entered the match for Mads Stokkelien in the 80th minute.
One item to note, seeing guys like Sebastian Guenzatti & Paulo Mendes both guys that were starters for last years Soccer Bowl championship shows you the depth that the team has. This will prove to be important for the team if they want to make a meaningful run at the US Open Cup.
Stefan Dimitrov, Hunter Freeman received yellow cards.
Another salute go out to whoever is manning the @NYCosmos_match twitter handle. Much of the information above was taken from their informative tweets! Keep up the good work!