The New York Cosmos had a great weekend, when they defeated FC Edmonton by a 4-2 score to move five points clear at the top of the North American Soccer League spring table. While the Jacksonville Armada, one of the two teams sitting on nine points, have played only five matches thus far, the boys in green are in very good shape with just four matches left to play this spring.
Cosmos B have also had a great start to the season, winning their opener 3-2 in dramatic fashion, before impressing with a 4-0 victory over Seacoast United Mariners this past weekend. That match provided an opportunity for Hunter Freeman to play some minutes before returning to the first team (as did the mid-week scrimmage with the US U-17 squad), as opposed to joining the bench and potentially making a short cameo in the first team match against the Eddies.
Cosmos B coach Alecko Eskandarian had some comments following the performance, in which Freeman scored a pair of goals:
"It's huge for Hunter. He has had a very, very frustrating 2015, dealing with this injury. All of us feel so bad for him because he is doing all of the little things to put himself in a position to play."
"To see him finally get on the field and play is a great sight for everyone in our club. That's the great thing about Cosmos B, being a resource for a guy like Hunter Freeman to use and gauge where he's at, to get his match fitness up a little bit, and prepare to get back with the first team."
Granted, the level of play in the NPSL is probably a good deal lower than that of the NASL, but for Freeman to have the opportunity to log big minutes in a pair of matches as opposed to slowly working his way back from the bench is an opportunity that Gio Savarese and the coaching staff have to be thrilled with. They've now had the opportunity to see the player in extended action, and probably feel more comfortable with where he's at in his recovery, ahead of this weekend's match in Carolina.
Freeman's status will almost certainly come up during today's weekly conference call with Gio Savarese, but unless he's had a setback, it's hard to believe he won't be in line for a return to the starting eleven. It's hard to believe that would be the case this early without the opportunity to find his legs with Cosmos B.