By DAN KARELL
The first-place New York Cosmos have won three successive matches and are six-games unbeaten, but they’re still not at 100 percent within the squad.
Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese confirmed to reporters following practice that Hunter Gorskie has been ruled out for the second consecutive Cosmos game, which is a trip to Blaine, Minnesota on Saturday to face Manny Lagos and Minnesota United FC. The Stanford graduate is continuing to recover from a knee injury suffered in training last Thursday, and was seen in practice this week working on his own on the side.
Another player who is continuing his comeback from injury but still isn’t quite ready to play is Alessandro Noselli, who scored the game-winning goal in the Cosmos’ opener, but hasn’t played since September 7 when he went off injured in the 1-1 draw with the Atlanta Silverbacks.
Jamal Johnson was seen in training on Thursday jogging around the pitch on his own, as he continues his recovery from a serious knee injury. He wore a brace around his right leg.
Here are some more notes from Cosmos training this week:
CONTINUITY IN THE STARTING LINEUP
Due to a number of factors including injuries, inconsistent play, and red card dismissals, the Cosmos have played nine different starting lineups in each of their nine games.
This week though could be when the streak ends.
Savarese wouldn’t confirm his lineup when speaking after training, but with Gorskie and Noselli still injured and the positive play from Paulo Mendes in midfield, it’s looking more than likely that we could see an unchanged starting lineup on Saturday.
“It could be, it could be,” Savarese said. “But it might not because not necessarily the guys that are there are going to start for sure….we’re still making a few decisions, but the base is there of what we might see on Saturday”
The play of Mendes in midfield could keep out Sebastian Guenzatti, who missed the last game due to a red card. Based on Savarese’s assessment of Mendes in training this week, the head coach’s comments made it clear that the Brazilian midfielder is likely to start his third straight match this weekend.
“He came and did well against the Strikers, he played well against Tampa, and we’ll see if he’s going to be part of the team again,” Savarese said about Paulo Mendes. “I think he’s making a case to be a starter again.”
TEAM UNITY CONTINUES TO GROW
One of the best moments from the Cosmos memorable 4-3 victory at home over the Tampa Bay Rowdies wasn’t just the outstanding free kick goal from Marcos Senna in the 82nd minute, but the way the team celebrated it.
The entire squad, lead by Senna, ran over to the bench and celebrated joyously with the coaching staff and substitutes, as their two-goal deficit at the half had become a one-goal advantage. To come back in the manner that they did, in a way that they hadn’t all season, looks to have brought the team even closer together in one of the crucial parts of the season.
“We just have that harmony, we are a true team,” Savarese said. “Everybody, from the equipment manager all the way to the youth players that we have, it’s just a team that is working hard to a common goal. It was great right there (with Senna’s goal) because I think it was a great reward after what they put in to be able to get the fourth goal, and we all celebrated as a team together, which was great to see.”
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
- A week after signing a contract with the club, Bryan Meredith looks to be the third-string goalkeeper at the moment while reserve Chad Calderone continues to recover from an injury and a number of setbacks.
- During a scrimmage match in training, Marcos Senna scored on penalty kick while Sebastian Guenzatti finished from close range off a corner kick for the blue squad to defeat the green.
- Savarese has history with Minnesota United head coach Manny Lagos. In the 1995 USISL Championship game, Savarese’s Long Island Rough Riders faced off against Manny Lagos’ Minnesota Thunder, with Savarese scoring the game-winning goal with six seconds remaining to win, 2-1.