By DAN KARELL
The New York Cosmos enter Sunday’s encounter with FC Edmonton in arguably the best form of any team in North America.
Winners of their last five and unbeaten in eight games, the Cosmos are 90 minutes away from clinching a place in the Soccer Bowl next month, assuming they can defeat the Eddies at James Shuart Stadium. According to veteran defender Hunter Freeman, scoring early goals has given the team a boost that they were missing earlier in the season.
“When your team puts three or four goals in front of you it makes things a lot easier and it relieves some pressure,” Freeman told SBI after training on Wednesday. “I think it’s one of the things (we’ve done) in the past two to three games is scoring goals in the first half.
“(It’s) something that at the beginning of the season we weren’t doing, we were leaving it so late and the pressure built up. It makes a big difference because now teams can’t just pack it in and also the confidence goes through the team and guys play with a little bit more freedom and confidence.”
Freeman and co. know that the way their defense has performed recently, an early goal could give them the only advantage they need to pull off a victory.
Here are some more notes from this week’s training:
TRIALIST REVEALED: FORMER SOUNDERS DEFENDER ASHANI FAIRCLOUGH
For the past two weeks, the Cosmos have included a handful of trialists and guest players during their daily training sessions, including a large, hulking centerback who has impressed in scrimmages.
On Thursday, the identity of the player was finally revealed to be former Seattle Sounders defender Ashani Fairclough. The 21-year-old Jamaican was waived by the Sounders this past July without playing a first-team match and has been without a club since. However, according to a report from Empire of Soccer, the 6-foot-2-inch Fairclough could be a player the Cosmos sign for next season.
“Fairclough is a player that has played in MLS,” Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese told Empire of Soccer. “We are looking at players all the time. He is a potential player that is training for us and we are looking already for next year.
“While we are participating (in the league) now, we are still exploring options for next year. He is a potential player for the future.”
Fairclough, a Jamaican youth international at the U-17 and U-20 levels, played four seasons at University of South Florida, where he suited up next to compatriot Deshorn Brown, who currently stars in MLS for the Colorado Rapids. The Portmore, Jamaica native wasn’t chosen in either the MLS SuperDraft or Supplemental Draft.
TEAM DEFENSE LIVING UP TO THEIR POTENTIAL
As the Cosmos squad continues to grow and gel, some of the trends beginning to form is how good the defense is.
Even after losing Hunter Gorskie to a season ending injury, the Cosmos have earned clean sheets in four of their past five games, including two shutouts on the road. In their last game, a 4-0 victory against the Carolina RailHawks, the Cosmos completely shut down the dangerous front-three of Brian Shriver, Zach Schilawski, and Brian Ackley.
“I think this past weekend vs. Carolina was from top to bottom, everyone in the team, forwards, midfielders, defenders, goalkeeper, I think it was our best overall performance for 90 minutes,” Freeman said. “They really didn’t have any chances. We were happy with that of course, as a defender when you keep a team to zero goals its always a good feeling.”
With the team still growing and getting to know each other better on and off the field, the chemistry and success of the defensive side of the Cosmos game should only continue to grow.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES
- The Cosmos announced on Thursday that they have signed 10-year-old Zachary Bernstein to a one-day contract for Sunday. Bernstein was diagnosed earlier this year with cancer.
- Freeman said one of the reasons for the team’s consistency has just been that they have settled into a routine
- Last week saw head coach Giovanni Savarese select the same starting eleven in consecutive weeks for the first time all season. That streak is in doubt though with the re-emergence of Alessandro Noselli, who could start in place of Stefan Dimitrov.
- Practice on Wednesday was very high tempo, with plenty of short-burst sprint drills mixed in with one-touch and two-touch possession drills in confined spaces.
What do you think of these notes? Do you agree with the Freeman’s comments about the Cosmos scoring? Do you see the Cosmos signing Fairclough? Do you feel that the Cosmos defense can be even better?
Share your thoughts below.
The thing here that most of you (Cosmos haters) don’t get is that unlike the rest of you, those of us old enough to remember the team have a connection to the team that 20 something MLS fans don’t have. We root for the Cosmos because there is a connection with them, not because Don Garber tells us to. I notice many here take the position of Cosmos vs MLS which I find interesting. I would pose the question who are the “real” fans?
New York is Green and White!
Whatever. You’re probly the same person who sat off along the sidelines when MLS was struggling for a foothold and watched Euro leagues in the pub at 8am on Saturday instead of going to support the Metros.
Now I’ll ask you: who really supports the game in the NYC area? Chumps who sat around and waited for Cosmos 2.0, or those that supported the true New York area club since day 1?
Now go get your club some grass so we can send Thierry out there to smack fire out of your little club – cause he’s not gonna be playing on that abomination that you call a field out at Hofstra bro.
Listen up RBNY, ou seem to have a short memory. not long ago the bulls were also playing in a “abomination” field called Met life stadium.
I read every article on here about the Cosmos, in fact it’s my main reason for visiting the website.
Just wanted to make that clear.
Really, there are many who will try to put this club next to Real Madrid and Manchester United when it’s currently unwarranted, but the majority of us just want to support the club that has an identity and history in our region. Just support your clubs and let it be, the only banter I want to hear is from RBNY fans, cause why not, let’s get this rivalry started.
Patrick . agree with you. I don’t know why all this hostility from all the redbull fans against the Cosmos. Perhaps it’s because in their 16 year existence they have never won anything? and in their first year back the Cosmos are within a victory of the Soccerbowl? That’s what you get with the Cosmos. Tradition, Credibility, a world re knwon brand and, oh yeah, good quality soccer. Don’t be upset at the Cosmos, The MLS had a fantastic opportunity to create a tremendous buzz around not only in N.Y. but also around the world by choosing the Cosmos as an expansion franchise, Intead they sold out to the Yankees and manchester city owners.
Did anyone notice that it said Fairclough had never played for the Sounders first team but then the Cosmos coach says “Fairclough is a player who has played in MLS” ? Practice and playing maybe a few reserve league games to me does not count as playing in the MLS but whatever
We would wipe the grounds of RBA with these fools
Amazing how people take the time to read a Cosmos article and then comment at the end of the article how no one cares about the article!! lol
How bad does that make someone look. Listen there are Cosmos fans worldwide..more so than any other MLS team that has ever existed. I am one and while I
wish they would step into the MLS, I can’t do anything about it. For now we will support our team wherever they play and against whomever they play.
I can’t wait for the Lamar Hunt US Open cup to shut some people up!!
Notice no comparable coverage for other league teams. The way I suspect this works is all these websites get something for every article they write for the paying team/interested party. It seems someone is trying to “buy” different organizations’ (Cosmos, NYRB, maybe in the past even the Galaxy) way into our soccer attention and fabricate something out of nothing. Same kind of people who think the USMNT should throw a game to screw Mexico. To each their own.
And before you tell me not to read something if I don’t agree with you, I’ll read what I want for my own reasons, thank you very much.
The reasons the Cosmos get so much more coverage than other teams in the NASL or USL are so extraordinarily obvious as to be common sense.
Yet you don’t see them. You see a conspiracy.
I bet it’s a joy to talk politics with you too.
It’s not simply the quantity of coverage that is over the top.
For heaven’s sake, look at the first line of this piece.
“The New York Cosmos enter Sunday’s encounter with FC Edmonton in arguably the best form of any team in North America.”
The Cosmos are doing well. But they play against inferior opposition in a lower league.
If that isn’t an issue, maybe Ohio Wesleyan are in the “best form of any team in North America.” Sure it’s only Division III college soccer, but last I saw they had won all 14 games they’ve played.
I’m into the Cosmos actually.
But these articles are preposterous.
I enjoy these articles because they get everyone riled up and that’s more fun that the standard “Toronto is still a mess” or “DC’s Olsen Still Perplexed Why Team Still Stinks” or “Chivas to Become Even More Latino” or “Seattle Fans Love Themselves”
Those Topics have been beaten into the ground. This is the new topic to beat to death.
We can always back to discussing John O’Brien if you like.
Clearly, the Bilderbergs and the New World Order are behind all the Cosmos coverage.
anxiously awaiting the daily Rowdies, and FC Edmonton notes too… Oh wait…
If a sufficient number of others were also waiting for such coverage then you’d get your alleged wish, I’m sure.
yes, but clearly NO ONE is waiting for the cosmos stuff.. Read every article’s comments… We have all spotted this marketing ploy miles away, how have you missed it?
don’t want to keep you waiting too long.
I think this is always touching when sports teams open themselves up to caring for others and engaging the community. The Cosmos signed a 10yr old kid with a brain tumor to a one day contract.
“Arguably the best form of any team in North America.”
put RSL in the NASL and see what kind of form they have.
No one cares about the Cosmo’s
If you don’t care about the Cosmos then why post about the Cosmos?? Seems kind of strange. Fans that do care and follow the Cosmos exist. You may not want to believe it and that’s perfectly okay. And before you say it I’m not a Cosmos fan per se but I do have a passing interest. The Cosmos hate is pretty tiresome and quite frankly unwarranted.
COSMO COSMO COSCMO COSMO COSM OK?
WHY! Do not do you see? COSMOOOOOOS
I mainly posted to point out that having the best form in NASL is meaningless. But since I took the time, why not take a cheap shot? Don’t know that we really need 3 MLS teams in NY.
Then why do you post?
The great thing about rooting for the Cosmos is that everyone in MLS AND NASL hates you.