With Defense Starting To Show Wear, Offense Needs To Crank It Up!
By Cesar Trelles – August 1, 2014
One of the things that made the original New York Cosmos appealing was their frequent goal scoring. Sure they had some popular names on their teams too but part of the allure for fans was that there was a very good chance that if you attended a Cosmos match, you would see goals, and lots of them!
In the reboot era, defense has been the name of the game for the Cosmos. One can say that defense pretty much won them the NASL championship last year. In 2014 the defense has for the most part, continued to be strong. What has been an issue for the team though this year is finding the back of the net.
Roster moves were made in the off season to bring in Mads Stokkelien and Hans Denissen to help the offense up front. While Stokkelien had one of the best performances of 2014 for the Cosmos by scoring two goals against the Red Bulls in the US open Cup, he hasn’t been able to find the back of the net with consistency for the Cosmos in NASL play. But Stokkelien can’t be the only one to blame for the lack to goals. Of course, Hans Denissen has been recovering from his injury and only recently has he been able to start for the NY Cosmos. Add in the fact that last year’s leading scorers Diomar Diaz and Marcos Senna have spent several weeks off the pitch due to injury and it’s rather easy to see why the goals have not been plentiful for the Cosmos this year.
In looking ahead to the remainder of the fall season, this is something that is going to have to change, especially with all of the injured players mentioned above coming back from their injuries. The rest of the teams in the North American Soccer League made improvements to their rosters and are slowly starting to creep up on the Cosmos in terms of talent. The San Antonio Scorpions are a prime example of this as they came into Schuart Stadium in the first week of the fall season and trounced the Cosmos defense by scoring three goals and winning the match 3-1. This is not to say that teams are going to continue to beat the Cosmos by similar margins, however, if one looks at the way that the Cosmos won their matches both last year and so far this year you will see a very alarming pattern.
Kyle Reynish had six clean sheets in the fall season last year. Already this year, Jimmy Maurer has seven. With NASL sides improving their rosters, you cannot continue to expect shutouts or even 1-0 victories which the Cosmos have a lot of as well (four of them). Just this past Saturday, the Cosmos dropped precious points to the Fort Lauderdale Strikers by playing to a 1-1 draw. Magnifying the disappointment here was the fact that they were up a man on the Strikers for more than 45 minutes of the match. A goal early in the game (7th minute) by Jemal Johnson was the only celebration the Cosmos had. Then there was a key match at home in the spring season against expansion team Indy Eleven that many fans say, cost the Cosmos the spring season. The Cosmos were unable to find the net after an early Guenzatti goal (4th minute) and that match ended in a 1-1 draw. A win there and three points instead of one, might have made the Cosmos the spring champions.
Excluding US Open cup play, Mads Stokkelien and Sebastian Guenzatti lead the team with only three goals a piece. Marcos Senna has one, Diomar Diaz and Hans Denissen have none. Andres Flores was recently added to the team to provide speed to the offense and to create scoring opportunities that have been few in 2014. For the Cosmos to have success in the fall season and make the playoffs, these six players have to start racking up the goals.
The defense has been worked overtime since the inception of the reboot era and it’s starting to show wear and tear. Hunter Gorskie (knee), Roversi (ankle), Jimmy Ockford (concussion) and even Ayoze have all had injuries at some point this year. The Cosmos can not continue to rely on the defense that won them the Soccer Bowl last year. The goals need to come. They need to come soon to ensure wins and not draws. The last time the Carolina Railhawks came to Shuart Stadium the Cosmos reeled off four goals enroute to a festive 4-0 victory. Can a Railhawks visit provide the Cosmos an elixir of goals that is long overdue? If so maybe this will begin to entice and convince fans that Cosmos Country is once again a place to come and chant “ole ole” over and over again.
New York Cosmos host the Carolina Railhawks this Saturday at 7pm at Schuart Stadium.