The New York Cosmos are coming off of two important home wins and now must head on the road this weekend to play the Carolina Railhawks. Traveling to Carolina has not been easy for the Cosmos since the team has come back to the NASL. The Cosmos have yet to score a goal in Carolina, losing twice to them. In 2013 they lost 3-0 to them and in the spring of 2014 they lost 1-0. However for all of the obstacles that the Cosmos have encountered when they have travelled to Carolina, the time couldn’t be better than now for the Cosmos to not only score in Carolina, but to capture three huge points.
The Cosmos were able to capture a 3-2 victory last weekend at home against the Atlanta Silverbacks without their starting goalie Jimmy Maurer in goal as he was forced to sit out with a finger injury. Maurer returned to practice with the team this week and is set to start the match. Defensively the Cosmos have been without Roversio for a majority of the fall season but have found stability with Jimmy Ockford and Hunter Gorskie contributing key minutes alongside Carlos Mendes, Hunter Freeman and Ayoze.
The Cosmos offense has been the catalyst of the team over the last month. On Friday, it was announced that Danny Mawanga would stay on loan with the Cosmos for the remainder of the 2014 season. With him now secured on the club, it will undoubtedly give forwards such as Mads Stokkelien and Sebastian Guenzatti opportunities to seek out more chances with the expectation of more goals. Not only has Mwanga added stability up front, but Andres Flores will be coming back to the Cosmos after serving time as the captain of the Salvadorean national team in the Copa Centroamericana.
“I think he brings a good vibe to the team,” said Guenzatti of Flores. “He’s a hard worker, a fast player and a quick thinker. He brings a lot.” remarked forward Sebastian Guenzatti on Friday before the team departed for Carolina.
Also returning to the club is Connor Lade, who has played with more confidence and gusto since being loaned to the Cosmos back in July. Lade was supposed to go back to his home club the NY Red Bulls but after playing a CONCACAF Champions league match with them on Wednesday, he received a red card and is now unable to help the Red Bulls. He welcomes the opportunity to come back to Cosmos and make the trip to Carolina with the Cosmos.
““I’m really excited to be back with the team.”, a happy Lade expressed on Friday after the team’s last workout. “I wasn’t away that long so it’s easy coming back and transitioning back in with the guys. I’m anxious to keep going with what we started. I’m glad I didn’t have to miss too much time and that I didn’t miss any games. I’m looking forward to this weekend and continuing to build on what we’ve done the past couple of games and get some more wins.”
The Cosmos currently sit in fourth place while six points out of first place in the Fall NASL standings. Ironically, two of the three teams that are in front of the Cosmos in the standings, the San Antonio Scorpions and the Minnesota United, will be playing each other on Saturday night. A victory for the Cosmos would allow them to gain three points on one of the clubs. A tie between those two clubs and the Cosmos could gain two points on both teams.
“They (Carolina) are a direct competitor for a playoff spot,” said Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese after practice on Thursday. “There are many reasons for us to be hungry coming into this game.”
That hunger will have to remain through the remainder of the season. After Saturday’s match, the Cosmos will only have six more matches left in the season. Three of those matches are with the three teams that are still in front of the Cosmos, the Rowdies, Scorpions and Minnesota FC.