He’s not going anywhere.
Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese debunked rumors of his departure after leading his squad to a 3–1 victory over Miami FC in the fall opener at MCU Park on July 29, pledging his only focus is his squad’s current season.
Savarese was rumored to be on his way out following an interview with a Venezuelan media outlet last week. The long-time Cosmos coach was quick to object, however, even cracking a smile when asked about the discussion.
“The interview was about [signing Venezuelan star Juan Arango] first of all and they called me to talk about the new signing and him coming back,” Savarese said. “So we spoke, at length, about that and they asked me about [Major League Soccer] and I explained there’s been opportunities in the past and you never know what can happen in the future.”
But Savarese insisted that “for me, I’m committed to the Cosmos. I’m here, we want to win this championship and that’s what I’m thinking 100 percent, for this team.”
Savarese has no intention of leaving the Cosmos any time soon, but the team’s roster has certainly embraced change in the past few weeks.
Arango, 37, the 2016 North American Soccer League most valuable player, re-signed with the club on July 24, another addition to the Cosmos’ offense as the team looks to defend its league title. He notched 15 goals and seven assists to spark the Cosmos to the fall season title and their second-straight league championship last year.
“This is a great time for me to return to the Cosmos,” Arango said. “After winning the title last year, one can only feel fortunate to wear this jersey once again.”
Lucky Mkosana also re-signed with the Cosmos late in the spring season and the recent additions brought extra competition to the team’s practices. Savarese believes the inter-squad battle will serve the Cosmos well down the stretch.
“Everybody wants to be a starter,” the coach said. “Right now, everybody knows if they don’t work hard in practice, someone is going to take their position. So that creates the competition we’re looking for and now we have the depth to have the type of team we want.”
The Cosmos also hope to see team captain Carlos Mendes back on the field sooner rather than later. The emotional leader of the roster, Mendes has battled injuries all season, but looks to, finally, be ready to compete once again.
“Carlos, our captain, has been injured for awhile. He had two different types of injuries,” Savarese said. “One was his hamstring and then he had pain on top of the foot and when we thought that he was ready [after the hamstring], then the foot was hurting. So we had to give him time, but I think he’s one week away from starting to play again.”