Cosmos Notes: Savarese happy despite friendly defeat; Senna settling in well; and more

MarcosSennaCosmos1-LeytonOrient (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

With a little more than one week to go until their North American Soccer League home opener on August 3, the New York Cosmos took to the field on Wednesday in their first friendly match against professional opposition.

In the midst of a ten-day preseason trip to London, the Cosmos fell to League One side Leyton Orient, 2-1, with the lone Cosmos goal coming from 21-year-old Queens native Sebastian Guenzatti. Despite the defeat, head coach Giovanni Savarese was very upbeat about what he saw from his team.

For us it was an excellent test, it’s exactly what we needed at this time of preseason to prepare the team for August 3,” Savarese said to SBI in a phone interview from London. Leyton Orient has a very good team in the league that they play in and they came in to try to make it difficult for us, which was an excellent situation for us to be able to see the things that we need to work on.”

Building a team from scratch is no easy task, and having the whole team adjust to playing alongside new teammates takes time. But according to Savarese, the second half was where the team began to click and start to play the kind of soccer that he has been teaching and discussing in practices.

“We had a slow start, but then we had a very dominating second half,” Savarese said. “We probably could have had a little bit more from the game in regards to the result, but I think overall we, the coaching staff, are very satisfied in what we saw in the second half and in the reaction of the team. We’re getting closer to where we have to be.”

The Cosmos wrap up their preseason tour of London with a closed door friendly on Friday against Gillingham.

Here are some more notes from the Cosmos trip to London:

SENNA LIVING UP TO EXPECTATIONS

From the players through the coaching staff, new signing Marcos Senna has been drawing rave reviews.

The former Spanish National Team midfielder was brought in to the Cosmos squad to help shore up the center of midfield, and though he is working his way back into fitness, defender Carlos Mendes said his best trait is his professionalism.

“He’s a great guy, he’s got a great attitude, he’s coming in to work hard, he’s very humble and a guy like him of course playing at the highest levels for a long time, he really brings something special,” Mendes said to SBI. “The most important thing is that he’s here to work and he wants to be here.”

The match on Wednesday was Senna’s first since helping Villarreal return to La Liga last month, but despite the recent vacation spent by Senna and his family, he looks to already be on top of his game.

“He’s a leader among the team, he’s bringing all of his experience for all of the players, and he’s a class act in every sense of the work, on and off the field,” Savarese said. (On Wednesday) he played a great match, he was at the top of his game, and he gave a tremendous performance.

“So we are not just satisfied, I would say we are extremely satisfied with everything that he has contributed.”

TEAM CHEMISTRY CONTINUES TO BUILD

One of the most underrated aspects of a soccer team is how quickly all of the players can gel and become acclimated with one another. When starting a team from scratch like the Cosmos, the chemistry building becomes even more important.

Having a long preseason together certainly helps, but Mendes says that playing in the preseason friendlies are a good way to get to know your teammates on and off the field better.

“I think we have a great group,” Mendes said. “The staff is excellent so the chemistry has been really good, it’s been positive, and now it’s just getting to know the little tendencies on the field of some guys you haven’t played with and understanding them.”

NEWS AND NOTES

  • Satoru Kashiwase and Jemal Johnson were both substituted early in the Leyton Orient match. Savarese said that Kashiwase is fine but that Johnson suffered a knee injury that he didn’t sound very optimistic of, saying “It doesn’t look very promising right now.”
  • Mendes said that he was glad to get his first 90 minute game out of the way, and was happy that despite feeling tired, he felt good. It was his first match against professional opposition since October 28, 2012 in a match with the Columbus Crew in MLS.
  • Savarese said that new signing Roversio gives his team “exactly what we were looking for” in his position as a central defender.

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What do you think of these notes? Do you agree with Savarese’s assessment of the friendly defeat? Excited to see Senna start the opening match?

Share your thoughts below.

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17 Responses to Cosmos Notes: Savarese happy despite friendly defeat; Senna settling in well; and more

  1. Redneck says:

    What happened to this site’s NASL coverage? Learning about the Cosmos is great. But what about the teams that are playing matches that actually matter?

    • TomG says:

      No one in the NASL is playing games that matter. They are in their off season.

      • yankiboy says:

        Excellent, informative answer without resorting to being snarky. Well played, Sir.

        • TomG says:

          Thank you. It was difficult. That snark was really trying to dive into the comment but I fought him off.

    • jlm says:

      you might not like them, but you seem as interested as anyone which proves ives’ and other peoples’ assertions that they move the needle more than any other NASL team.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      We plan on ramping up our NASL coverage in general for the upcoming season. And FYI, NOBODY is playing matches “That actually matter” in NASL right now.

  2. Tim F. says:

    Cosmos play in less than nine days. Go Gio! Go Cosmos!

    • Frank says:

      I’m surprised they didn’t have more preseason games against pro teams lined up. With less than 9 days till their season kicks off and this was their first one?!

  3. ted says:

    I hope this works for them. Become a solid club creating solid players.
    Good 2nd division important for growth of the game in USA
    More soccer = More good.

  4. Josh D says:

    Line-ups?

    JJ can’t catch a break at all. Poor guy is more injury prone than Holden.

  5. chris says:

    Nike jerseys are so much better than anything Adidas has out

  6. The Imperative Voice says:

    No limits on salary or the roster is apparently enough to lose 2-1 to League One Orient, which is on the lower end of English professional soccer (approx. 60-80K pounds/year/player). Useful corrective in terms of some of the hubris floating around about how this team will be better than MLS. MLS, depending who we’re talking about, is probably bottom EPL/Championship material.

    Worth pointing out that no salary limits cuts both ways, up and down, and that’s why it’s the minor league rule. As I understand it, it’s usually a couple people at $100K and the rest in MLS reserve territory or below. Cosmos could buck that, but there’s not transparency about it. Standing here you couldn’t tell an independent juggernaut, from a well-organized castoff team like Puerto Rico at the end of the last decade, from any old minors team. After the antitrust suit MLS player salaries are transparent on the web and there are CBA rules on who can be paid what as a minimum, on re-signing, etc.

    At the level Orient’s at the style is usually straight kickball, think Dynamo/Stoke. Hoof it to a target who either passes it back or turns and goes.

    • Coco says:

      it’s pre-season. Man United got beat by a League 2 quality side recently.

      • Dan in New York says:

        Seriously.

        • Falls City Outlaw says:

          I’m a Man Utd guy and even I think “League 2″ is a generous description for the Singha Select 11.

          You guys are right. Preseason. I’m proud of the growth in MLS, for instance, but I would never take victory over EPL clubs in friendlies to be proof that they would cut it over the course of a full season.

    • jspech says:

      Not long ago they called this rebirth “T-shirts”.
      Now those “T-shirts” has a resurrected heart beating in them.
      Cosmos!!! Cosmos!!! Cosmos!!!