2015 GROUP STAGE PREVIEW: GROUP D
By Aaron Cheris
Group D includes the best team over the history of Cosmos Copa and a few newcomers that haven't made their mark on the tournament yet.
The most successful team in Cosmos Copa history is trying to get back on track.
After winning the Championship in 2010 and 2011, NYC Poland reached the championship in 2012 but fell to NYC Haiti. The last two years, NYC Poland’s title hopes were dashed in the quarterfinals.
According to team president Artur Kurasiewicz, NYC Poland isn’t taking the disappointment lightly, and they are doing everything they can to add another star to their crest.
To do that, NYC Poland is hoping their core group of players that have returned from previous years will lead the way. Along the way, they said they may need a little bit of luck to succeed.
While NYC Poland has many returning players, they are hoping a new group of young players can contribute.
NYC Poland is led by captain and goalkeeper Marcin Czerwinski, who was a member of the team for both championship wins.
After failing to get out of their group last year, NYC Mexico is looking to make the most of their opportunity to get out of a difficult group this time around.
“Our group is really, really hard. All the teams are always very strong,” team president Gabriel Islas said. “We are going to compete with them.”
In order to get through their group, NYC Mexico is going to rely on a core of players that were on the team last year, but a new crop of young talent will look to push the Mexicans to a higher level than previous years.
“We play faster, good technically. We’re very smart,” Islas added. “We’re trying to do the best with our opportunity.”
Ultimately, Islas hopes that some of his better players will get noticed and sign with professional teams and he believes that Cosmos Copa is a good start to that goal.
In recent years, NYC Columbia hasn’t been able to create a lot of noise at Cosmos Copa. They will look to make their deepest run in Cosmos Copa history in this tournament.
Group stage appearances in 2009 and 2011 were the highlights for the Columbians, and they are hoping to bring their country’s history of soccer glory to the fields at Randall’s Island.
NYC Columbia has never made the knockout stages of any of their previous Cosmos Copa appearances.
One of the world’s soccer powerhouses is looking to take their talents and victories to Cosmos Copa. NYC Spain hasn’t had the success of the Spanish National Team, but they won’t let that stop them from trying to get through their group.
“We think we have a competitive team,” team president Juan Lago said. “Once you get to those knockout games anything can happen.”
Lago said his team’s play is similar to that of the Spanish National Team, and he added that his team wants to be a reflection of Spanish soccer’s skillful style.
Center midfielder Ivan Rico is one of the top players for NYC Spain, and he is one to be watched for.
“He has a great work ethic to recover balls, but he also has the soccer knowledge to distribute it where it needs to go,” Lago said.
NYC Spain opens up at the bottom of the group.