Cosmos In Need Of Defense – Can Raul Play Defense?

Head coach Giovanni Savarese would only say that things are looking positive when it comes to Raul.

Head coach Giovanni Savarese would only say that things are looking positive when it comes to Raul.

By Cesar Trelles – 10/21/2014
Raul should be dressing up for the New York Cosmos this weekend.

Wishful thinking but of course that is not possible. But given the current state of the Cosmos going into a key match with playoff implications, it probably wouldn’t be a bad thing if Raul did suit up.

As part of his weekly conference call, head coach Giovanni Savarese revealed that defensively, his team could be limited when it comes to this weekend’s match against Tampa Bay.

Carlos Mendes will be unavailable as a result of his red card against Minnesota United FC this past weekend. That might be the only thing that is a certainty defensively for the Cosmos. Today, head coach Savarese revealed that the New York/New Jersey Red Bulls went back on the their verbal agreement of not recalling Connor Lade and have him training with the Red Bulls in preparation for their CONCACAF Champions League match tomorrow against the Montral Impact. This match has absolutely no relevance for RBNY as they have already been eliminated from the CCL tournament and taking back Lade in the midst of a Cosmos playoff push might raise some eyebrows, especially when a verbal agreement had been in place to not recall Lade.


“I stand behind what I believe.”, said an earnest Savarese. “A verbal agreement is more of an agreement than any written agreement. That’s how I live, that’s how I believe and that’s how the Cosmos try and move forward. But we cannot expect everybody to be the same and every organization to be the same. At the moment this is the reality and we have to battle with that reality and that is all.”

While Lade will be with RBNY for Wednesday’s match, the Cosmos are uncertain if he will be back for Saturday’s match against Tampa Bay. Lade’s status going into Saturday’s match isn’t the only uncertainty. As of today, head coach Savarese confirmed that Roversio is still nursing a knee injury that prevents him from having his full range of motion when on the pitch. From the sounds of things, it is unlikely that Roversio will be a go for Saturday. Finally Jimmy Ockford is also an uncertainty as he is currently nursing an extended hamstring. Ockford did practice lightly today but coach Savarese did not confirm if he would be available for Saturday’s match.

If Mendes, Roversio, Lade and Ockford are unavailable, coach Savarese said he would have to go into battle defensively with a combination that might include Hunter Freeman, Ayoze, Hunter Gorskie and possible either Jimmy Nealis or Jimmy Mulligan. So far this year, Jimmy Nealis has only made one start back in late May in an away start against the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers. While he played all ninety minutes, he didn’t have the strongest match defensively and has not seen a minute on the pitch since then. Jimmy Mulligan has yet to see a minute of action this season.

As far as the ongoing hot stove surrounding Raul, head coach Giovanni Savarese would not show his hand when it comes to any concrete news from the New York Cosmos organization. On Monday ESPN FC reported on their website that Raul and the Cosmos had come to a contract agreement. To date, the Cosmos have not announced anything official with respect to the legendary Spanish striker.

“Right now we are focusing from the technical staff about the match that we have this coming weekend against Tampa.” replied Savarese. “Nothing else right now is on our mind. But what I can say in regards to that (Raul) is that things are looking positive.”

Wouldn’t it be nice if he was on the pitch this Saturday at Shuart?

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