After their 3-0 defeat to Miami FC in their home opener, The Cosmos get a chance at redemption. This time, Miami have a stadium of their own to debut. New York travels down to FIU stadium to face Alessandro Nesta’s side in unfamiliar territory.
Hopefully, the Cosmos will learn from last week’s defeat and be able to bounce back from the home opener. The biggest point of concern from the previous fixture was the defense. New York used different center back combinations in both of their games so far, and each combination has had a very different result. Carlos Mendes and Darius Barnes led the Cosmos defense to a shutout, while Dejan Jakovic and David Ochieng struggled with Miami’s attack. I expect the first pair to start again, with perhaps Ochieng filling in for Mendes if the captain is still hurt.
The Cosmos have also struggled on the attack. The NYC Originals have yet to score a goal in the 2016 NASL season. Last week for the first half of the game, the Cosmos did not play with an out and out striker and elected to have the winger Walter Restrepo lead the line. New York has limited options up top and are missing a star like Raul or Arrango this season to run point at the number ten position. Eugene Starikov could be the solution to the Cosmos offensive impotence, as although he has yet to start he made great impressions in his two substitute appearances.
The key to success for the Cosmos in this match will be how well they play together as a team. As we all know, this offseason has been turbulent for the club and Gio Savarese has done wonders to put together a full squad at the last minute. The dominance of the last two seasons cannot be immediately expected from this squad. Hopefully we will see improvements in the team’s performance week by week as the unit builds chemistry and trust in each other.
Call me an optimist, but I think the Cosmos will pull off a crucial road win in their Miami rematch. I predict a late Starikov goal will lift the Cardiac Cosmos to a 1-0 win.
Kick-off for the match is tomorrow at 7:30. The match will be televised on MSG 2 and streams on ESPN 3.