November 29, 2013
My TWO CENTS
What the Cosmos need this off-season
By Matt Levine
Alessandro Noselli, who was dangerous when healthy, could be the solution to the Cosmos' scoring troubles up front.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
The New York Cosmos finished the North American Soccer League as the leagueís best team after hoisting the Soccer Bowl trophy on Nov. 9. Although the club reached the heights of old with another championship, there is still work to be done this off-season to improve the squad.
Here are some ideas to accomplish that goal:
Consistent goal-scorer up top
Although the Cosmos only lost one game, at times the club struggled in games. A lot of those struggles came because of a lack of finishing. Through the course of the 14-game fall season, they only managed to score seven goals from four forwards.
Heading into the next season, the club needs to find a player who can get seven or so goals in each split season. Alessandro Noselli showed glimpses that he could find the back of the net when not dealing with injuries. However, he may be better served continuing as a late game super-sub moving forward. Whether Stefan Dimitrov, Henry Lopez or Paulo Mendes, who spent the last seven games in an advanced role, can be the answer long term remains to be seen.
However, finding a striker who can find the back of the net on a consistent basis should be the Cosmos top priority before the 2014 season kicks off.
Keep the core of the team together
Several of the Cosmos players had standout seasons. Players like Marcos Senna and Carlos Mendes, who are nearing the end of their successfu careers, are expected to return. However, itís players such as Roversio, Danny Szetela and Diomar Diaz who the Cosmos need to lock up long term. All three players, along with a few others on the Cosmos, could very well make a step up to Major League Soccer in the future.
The Cosmos need to keep the core of their younger players who performed well as they build not only for next season, but for long-term success. The Cosmos donít disclose terms of contracts and several players could already be on longer term deals. If they werenít already, getting the three aforementioned players to put pen to paper on longer deals would be a good start.
Add another creative player
The Cosmos dominated possession in just about every game they played. However, at times, even with all the possession, they did not create enough going forward. Part of the issue was that the attack was too predictable.
A good portion of the attack in the final third came from ball whipped into the box from the fullbacks, which not too often were finished for goals (see the first point). The Cosmos need another player, possibly in the midfield, to take on players. In games where they struggle to break an opponents' defense down, another player who can unlock the defense with a splitting pass or find space by dribbling a player, will add another element to the Cosmos attack that was already the best over the fall season.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
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