2015 GROUP STAGE PREVIEW: GROUP B
By Aaron Cheris
Group B in this year's Cosmos Copa is up for the taking. The group is highlighted by a former champion and includes other teams who are looking to make deep runs for the first time in their history.
It has been three years since NYC Haiti raised the trophy above their heads, but the Haitians believe that now is their time to raise it again.
“It’s always winning,” team president Gregory Mervilus said of his team’s goals. “We are coming into Cosmos Copa as strong as we could to win the championship.”
NYC Haiti hopes to win by playing the same type of game they played in 2012 that has eluded them since.
“We need to have all 22 roster players working together on one pitch. We have no one better than the others,” Mervulis said. “We have one team. When we have all 22 players on one pitch, I think we’ll be able to make it."
NYC Haiti opens atop Group B as the only team in its group to have ever made it out of the group stage.
After struggling in the qualifying stages in each of the past two seasons, NYC Guinea will look to make their longest Cosmos Copa run in team history.
Drawn second behind former champion NYC Haiti in Group B, NYC Guinea is hoping that they will make good on the opportunity presented to them.
“It might sound cliché but obviously [we want] to be one of the best teams in the tournament,” team president Amadou Barry told CosmosCopa.com. “Our team’s biggest strength is our teamwork. We all love to work as a team.”
NYC Guinea hopes their teamwork will be able to push them to the Round of 16 and a shot at the quarterfinals.
The Dutch have never made it past the group stage of Cosmos Copa, but they believe that this could be their year.
New young players have given NYC Holland reason to believe a bright future is coming, and the plan for the Dutch is simple.
Defense will be the key to the Dutch success, and they hope to play some quick counter attacks, contrary to a typical Dutch possession game.
Defender Maarten Smolders said his team is going for it all this year, and they have nothing to lose heading into the tournament.
NYC Holland played NYC Guinea in the tournament a couple years ago, and they know how tough a matchup that is for the group stage. This year’s rematch could decide who moves to the round of 16 and who goes home.
NYC Holland are hoping to keep their morale high by getting some wins this year, something they haven’t been able to do in recent years.
After a disappointing 2014 Cosmos Copa, NYC Ukraine is looking to rebound in 2015.
To do that, the Ukrainians are hoping that they can play as a one strong unit.
“We’ve been playing together for the past eight years and we’re not only friends on the field. We’re friends at work and friends in a career.” team president Alex Zarester said. “We’ve been like a family. We’ve been playing together for a very long time.”
NYC Ukraine didn’t make it out of the group stages in 2014, and their goal is to advance out of a tough Group B, which they were drawn fourth into.
“We overload the midfield and we wait for a chance. We have a very strong defense and we rely on it,” Zarester said. “As long as we are disciplined and come to play, we should be good. Last year, we were too relaxed.”
NYC Ukraine will try to make it out of the group stages for the first time in team history.