2015 GROUP STAGE PREVIEW: GROUP C
By Aaron Cheris
Group C is up for grabs at this year's Cosmos Copa. No team in this group has ever made it past the quarterfinals of the tournament. However, at the end of the group stage two teams will have punched tickets to the Round of 16 and a shot at the quarterfinals.
NYC El Salvador
After a strong Cosmos Copa in 2014, NYC El Salvador is looking to go even further this time around. Last year, the El Salvadorians fell in the quarterfinals to NYC France.
Coming in atop Group C, NYC El Salvador is confident and ready to play. The main reason for the confidence is their defense.
Team captain Jose Martinez said his team has, “an exquisite defense and great possession. We’re pretty good at that. We need to keep the ball.
“We know the competition very well. All we have to do is finish the games. We’re a counterattacking team and we’re also a possessive team that can play out of the back without a problem.”
After shots hit the woodwork with games on the line last year, Martinez is hoping this year his team will find the net.
Martinez says players to watch are midfielder Amiclar Alvarado and forwards Mario Luna and Stephano Brossard.
Heading into the Cosmos Copa, NYC Peru is going to rely on its young talent to try and lead their team to victory, and maybe lead their players to bigger things.
“Most of them are eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old - college guys. If they play good, they can get invitations,” team president Carlos Melgar said. “That is the main idea.”
Goalkeeper Walter Guzman is going to be the backstop for NYC Peru behind its young front line. Team captain Diego Mayanga will be leading the team into a tightly contested Group C.
“We are a good team,” Melgar said. “We could advance out of our group with the team we have.”
After struggling in previous years, NYC Peru is hoping to make its deepest run in team history this time around.
An African team won the Cosmos Copa last year, and NYC Ghana will look to become the second this season.
“We have a very young, speedy and talented team that I think is going to get the job done. These guys are all hungry to be there and they are disciplined,” team president Edwin Boney said. “We’ve been in this tournament for a while. This year we’re bringing something different. Watch out for Ghana.”
Boney believes that each player on his team is a force to be reckoned with, and striker Prince Yeboah could be the leading scorer on the team.
“We’re always pushing and attacking ahead of the game. Our guys are really trained to be able to withstand our style of play,” Boney said. “Hopefully our players can get noticed.”
Rounding out Group C is NYC Guyana. In previous tournaments, NYC Guyana has been unable to advance past the group stage of the tournament.
According to team president Rawle Hensford, NYC Guyana’s goal this year is to do what they’ve never done before.
To do that, NYC Guyana will play, “compact and direct, always looking to outnumber the opponent on attack and defensively,” Hensford said. “We are a complete team. We depend on every individual for success.”
Hensford mentioned that Alwayn Adams, Jeremy Aaron, and Leon Marks will be the key players that could lead his side to victory.
NYC Guyana start at the bottom of Group C, but they believe that they can emerge as one of two teams to advance from the group.