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Should the New York Cosmos have been chasing Tom Heinemann?

Ottawa Fury FC

The New York Cosmos are blessed to have resources that many NASL rivals do not, though their wage bill could be decreasing this season with the retirements of two expensive veterans, Marcos Senna and Raul. Armed with that financial muscle, New York has made a habit of identifying out of contract talent from other NASL rosters, and ponying up the wages necessary to bring them to the Cosmos. Two winters ago, that resulted in a deal for Hans Denissen which infuriated Scorpions' President Howard Cornfield, while last winter saw the additions of both Lucky Mkosana and Walter Restrepo, both of whom played major roles in the Cosmos title winning campaign. Given that trend, it's logical to assume that New York would continue to target proven NASL talent again this winter.

To that end, out of contract forward Tom Heinemann was an interesting option for the Cosmos to consider. Heinemann was a revelation during the second half of the 2015 season, and despite the heroics of goalkeeper Romuald Peiser, was likely the single largest reason that the Fury managed to go from 9th in the spring to 1st in the fall. He continued that hot form in the playoffs, scoring every one of Otttawa's four goals during their post-season run, including two while his side were down to ten men at Hofstra. Given that form, it's no surprise that he's reportedly agreed to a lucrative deal to join the Tampa Bay Rowdies.

Heinemann isn't the most versatile player in the league by any stretch. He's a big, traditional center forward who is probably most effective as a lone front man, or partnered with a player like Raul, who knows how to use the sort of space that Heinemann creates. He's actually a very similar player to Gaston Cellerino, who became New York's first choice forward as the season neared its end, and really seemed to form an effective partnership with Raul during that stretch. A savvy coach like Gio Savarese could certainly make use of Heinemann, as goalscorers are always in demand.

That said, New York already has a similar option in Cellerino, and looks like they're close to adding a second, in Greece international Georgios Samaras. While Heinemann is undoubtedly a very talented player, I'm not sure he provides anything that the Cosmos won't already have, especially if they land Samaras, who has played for big clubs in Europe, New York would have a more marketable name. Finding a way to use both Cellerino and Samaras together could be tricky, so adding a third option in cut from the same mold would be a questionable use of resources.

Speaking of available resources, Heinemann would have been a good fit in terms of roster construction, just due to being an American. If the 'Mos start the 2016 season with both Cellerino and Samaras in the squad, that would take up two of their seven very valuable international roster spots. The club had a pair of those valuable spaces open up with the retirements of Marcos Senna and Raul*, but with a scarcity of high-end American players in the NASL using those roster spots as wisely as possible will always be a key to success. Signing Samaras would leave just one open slot to work with, unless more moves are made.

*There's a good chance that the club opens up a third spot this winter by parting ways with Samuel Caceres, as he showed very little in matches to justify Savarese making his loan into a permanent move.

Fortunately for the Cosmos, should they retain Cellerino and make a move for Samaras, they'll have a very strong starting lineup already, leaving very few pressing needs to be filled that would require a top quality signing. Adam Moffat, if healthy, should do a respectable job of replacing Marcos Senna, and while Andres Flores and Ruben Bover are very different players than Raul, they're certainly both very capable of slotting in behind the forward. Lucky Mkosana would be an excellent option as a second striker as well, as his speed and explosiveness should compliment a more traditional #9 very nicely.

Tampa Bay will certainly benefit from the signing of Tom Heinemann (assuming the Northern Pitch report is accurate), as he's one of the better forwards currently employed in the NASL. I'm not sure he'd see major minutes for the Cosmos, and because of that, I'm fine with the club staying out of the market for his services, while focusing on other areas. If Heinemann was a defender or a central midfielder, however, I'd probably feel very differently.