You'd have to be living under a rock to have missed some of the moves the New York Cosmos made to their attacking ranks this winter. The club's signing of Raul was easily the biggest story about a North American Soccer League club in over 30 years, while this week's capture of top USMNT prospect Haji Wright was also huge news for the league. That pair will be part of a major overhaul that Gio Savarese has done up front, and hopefully one that sees the Cosmos attack become reliable for the first time since the reboot.
While the Cosmos defense has been the best in the league since the reboot in 2013, the attack has often been disappointing, failing to turn loads of possession into regular scoring chances. The club attempted to address that issue following their title win, adding NASL veteran Hans Denissen and exciting prospect Mads Stokkelien to the mix last campaign.
Stokkelien wound up leading the team in goals, though he was often quite wasteful with his chances. Still, Mads showed enough that his return this season is good news, especially as he offers a very different skillset than what we'll get from Raul. Denissen, on the other hand, never made an impact, as injuries derailed his season. The Dutchman has now left for Atlanta, where he'l look to get his career back on track.
Stokkelien will likely find himself partnered with Raul on a fairly regular basis, which could wind up being a very effective partnership. Mads often found himself marked heavily due to his speed and physical presence, and last year's squad could have certainly used someone with the experience and intelligence of the legendary Spaniard to take advantage of that attention.
In addition to that duo, the Cosmos have a pair of very athletic, but somewhat raw talents who can play in a variety of roles. Lucky Mkosana has looked excellent during the preseason and should fill the role vacated by the loss of Danny Mwanga, while Wright will also offer an elite athlete with explosive potential for Savarese's attack.
The Cosmos have made it very clear that they're still looking for another striker, and have confirmed that they've had conversations with big names like Antonio Di Natale, Shola Ameobi, and Samuel Eto'o this winter. As they seem to be aiming to use their final international spot on a big name forward, there's a very good chance that we won't complete that deal until after the European season comes to an end.
For the Cosmos to reclaim the title this season, they'll certainly need a more consistent attack than they had last season. Fortunately, it's hard to believe that won't be the case with the additions made this winter.