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United Soccer Leagues


June 17, 2015
For starters, Gio tips his hand, Kreis won't

Cosmos striker Raul is expecting to play Wednesday night against NYC FC.
Cosmos striker Raul is expecting to play Wednesday night against NYC FC.
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
By Michael Lewis Editor

PURCHASE, N.Y. -- Cosmos head head Giovanni Savarese did not have a problem saying that he will use as many Starting XI players as possible in Wednesday night's Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup encounter.

His NYC FC counterpart, Jason Kreis, however, wasn't as forthcoming.

Saverese, whose team is aiming to knock off another Major League Soccer team from the competition within a year -- the Red Bulls were the victims in 2014, said he plans to start as many healthy players as possible for the fourth-round encounter at Shuart Stadium at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

During a Monday conference call with the media, Savarese said that midfielder Marcos Senna was "very close" to being available for the match. Midfielder Leo Fernandes, who missed the 3-3 tie with the Jacksonville Armada Saturday will be available, although central defender Roversio was questionable.

Midfielder Andres Flores also was questionable, depending how quickly he could return from World Cup qualifying duty with El Salvador. Flores came on in the 84th minute for El Salvador, which recorded a 4-1 home win over St. Kitts and Nevis Tuesday.

"We take this cup very seriously," Savarese said.

Kreis, on the other hand, said that a number of players he wanted to participate in the match are injured.

The Cosmos are finished with the NASL spring schedule and won't have a game for at least two weeks. NYC FC, on the other hand, visit Toronto FC on Saturday, so Kreis has to pull a balancing act.

"We're in a little bit of bind because we have a lot of injuries," he said after practice at Purchase College on Tuesday. "Typically, you look at this game and you think to yourself, in a typical year you want to give some guys opportunities to play in game and to show what they're about. The majority of the guys that we have who we would be looking to get opportunities are injured. so we're limited with injuries with what we can do.

"We [will] put out a team and we approach this game in a fashion that we think the team we put out there should give us the best chance to win with taking injuries and other factors into consideration."

When a reporter brought up the possibility of NYC FC being a hybrid of starters and reserves, Kreis played it close to the vest.

"It's not safe to say anything, so I would prefer to say nothing," he said.

Savarese, however, thought that NYC FC will put out its best lineup as possible.

"I think the New York City Football Club is going to play their best players," he said. "I think there's a mutual respect in regards to the teams. We expect them to play with their best lineup against us. We are going to go the same way, to play with the best players that we have in mind for this match. I think its going to be an existing match and i think both teams are taking it very seriously."

Not surprisingly, there is great anticipation that two Spanish scoring legends will play. Raul filled the nets as a UEFA Champions League scoring terror for Real Madrid. NYC FC's David Villa likewise for Barcelona in La Liga.

The Cosmos plan to use Raul while Kreis wouldn't say if David Villa will see any action or start.

"We take this cup very seriously," Savarese said. "We're going to play the players we think can execute the best plans of this game. Raul is a very important player for us and he will be playing for sure."

When asked if Villa would play, Kreis replied, "I don't want to answer that question. I don't think I need to answer it."

Villa said he did not know if he would play.

Savarese added that some fans think "that this is a Raul vs. Villa match. As a coach I feel differently because I think they have more than one player on the team as we have more than one player on our team. We are looking at this game as a very serious match."

Not only did the coaches have different philosophies on saying which players they will use, they also had different ways of talking about their opponents.

When asked what impressed him about the Cosmos, Kreis replied, "I think more than anything else, the way that they're playing. They're playing in a positive manner. They're trying to dominate games, They're trying to play out of the back to be a team that tries to possess the ball. It should be an interesting and exciting game."

This time Savarese kept his thoughts closer to his vest.

When asked about NYC FC's strengths and weaknesses, the Cosmos coach responded, "It will be difficult for me to talk about their weaknesses and strengths because we have not played them yet. Maybe I will be able to talk about that after the match. at the moment we are analyzing all of those factors. We know them very well. We know their players. We know the team. The team has broken through with two positive results that has built their confidence that has started to jell and that has taken this game seriously. So those components make them to be a very difficult team to play against. We feel we are a team that can compete. We will do everything we have in order to be able to go through this stage and hopefully go through to the next round."
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