My interview with John Frusciante who covers the New York Cosmos for his podcast, First Team Podcast.
Since losing 0-3 to Indy Eleven on September 24th, the Cosmos have gone on a seven game unbeaten streak ( 6 wins and 1 draw including semifinal),what has been the key for the Cosmos finishing the season so strong?
JF: Every time the Cosmos lost a match this season it motivated them to play even better. Going into the Fall Season the Cosmos didn’t have a spot in the Championship. I think the key for the Cosmos finishing the season so strong is because they needed to win the Fall Season. On October 15th against Jacksonville Armada away the Cosmos were down 2-0 and came from behind to win the Fall Season. Ever since that night the team is very confident and looks really good going into the final.
The Cosmos have been undefeated at home this year. What factors have contributed to the Cosmos success at home this year? Will playing in a different venue in New York take away those advantages?
JF: The Cosmos at home and away are two different teams. At home the Cosmos have the supporters cheering them on and I feel that they are used to the surface at Hofstra. I think the Cosmos next season will have some challenges at their new home. The group of players that we have will get used to playing on any surface and make the most of it.
Juan Arango has 15 goals and 7 assists for the Cosmos. Should he be the MVP of the NASL?
JF: Yes, Juan Arango should be NASL MVP. Last season Marcos Senna and Raul retired and we didn’t know who the club would get to replace the club legends. Juan Arango is a key part to the Cosmos success this season. Juan has scored 15 goals and has 7 assists this season. This season Juan broke the club record for most goals in a season.
Which Cosmos player has been overlooked as to why they have been successful this season? Who’s the unsung hero?
JF: The player that has been overlooked this season is David Diosa. David has been with the club since the reboot season and has been used in different roles. Earlier on in his career with the Cosmos he was used as a forward but when you have quality strikers such as Raul, and Lucky performing well each week it’s so hard for him to break into the Starting XI.
Giovanni Savarese moved Diosa to the back and ever since than he has been a defender and sometimes he could be used to go forward. He is a very versatile player that Indy Eleven should watch out for.
If Giovanni Savarse wins the Soccer Bowl on Sunday, it will be his third championship in four years? Why has Gio been so successful with the Cosmos in the NASL?
JF: Giovanni Savarese has been successful with the Cosmos in the NASL because he could be bring any group of players in and get the most out of them. Each offseason there are some players that you would think would stay around for the next season but they would move on in their career and they would be replaced. The other important factor that you have to understand is that every single player on the roster can be replaced.
Last season we had Raul and Marcos Senna and they retired after the 2015 season. As a Cosmos supporter I was thinking how can we replace these players, who are we going to bring in to bring quality to the team for next season? Giovanni Savarese has a lot of connections throughout the country and the world. We brought in Juan Arango and Yohandry Orozco because they are both from the same country. Also the coaching staff has connections with players and the front office of soccer clubs throughout the country, which is very beneficial when you are trying to come to an agreement on a matter.
Alecko Eskandrian seems to be an up and coming coach, could we see him as a head coach in the USL or NASL soon?
JF: I think we could see Alecko Eskandrian coach the Cosmos if Giovanni Savarese moves on to manage another club. As a Cosmos supporter you would never imagine Giovanni moving on to coach another club but with all the reports and quotes coming out it seems like Gio might be considering go to MLS or abroad.
Alecko has experience coaching Cosmos B to a NPSL Title. Alecko for sure is learning a lot as an assistant to Gio. I think if Alecko doesn’t get a chance with the Cosmos than he will move on to gain more experience being a head coach maybe with a Lower division club or get a great opportunity to manage a MLS club. At the moment I don’t think that’s on his mind. He’s very young and has a lot more to learn and experience throughout his coaching career.
Indy Eleven and the New York Cosmos have had a competitive rivalry since 2014. Why do you think this rivalry has been so intense?
JF: The rivalry has been so intense because there were tight matches. If you can recall in 2014 and 2015 the matches between the two clubs ended in a draw. That all changed in 2016 when Indy Eleven beat the Cosmos 2-1 at Michael A. Carroll this season and that intensified the rivalry. This season Indy Eleven defeated the Cosmos twice this season at home. The only time the Cosmos beat Indy Eleven was at home and we could use that to our advantage on Sunday.
As a Cosmos fan, what worries you most about Indy Eleven? Which players give the Cosmos the most headaches?
JF: A lot of things worry me about Indy Eleven from your attack to your quality defense. I remember when we went away to play the Eleven and we got knocked off the park 3-0. The other thing is that the club doesn’t spend the most money in the league but they know how to get the most out of the players. Indy Eleven strikers Justin Braun and Eamon Zayed are the two players that give the Cosmos the most headaches. As of late the Cosmos defense has been playing very well. I’m hoping the Cosmos can contain those two players on Sunday.