Cosmos head coach on Eugene Starikov (above): “He is a young and talented player who can give the team a different look in attack.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
The Cosmos bulked up their attack Friday, announcing the signing of striker Eugene Starikov and Ghananian midfielder Kalif Alhassan.
Starikov’s deal is pending International Transfer Certificate approval. As per club policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.
“Eugene is a great addition to the overall squad,” Cosmos head coach and sporting director Giovanni Savarese said in a statement. “He is a young and talented player who can give the team a different look in attack.”
The 28-year-old Starikov, who was born in Odessa, the Ukraine, began playing in the Premier Development League in 2008 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. and scored five goals before moving to Zenit Saint Petersburg (Russia). Remaining in the Russian Premier League, he then went on loan to Tom Tomsk and Rostov, where he scored four goals between the two clubs.
Starikov played last season in the Ukrainian Premier League for Chornomorets Odesa, scoring twice in 10 appearances. He scored twice and created two goals in the Cosmos’ Dominican Republic tour.
“I have really enjoyed the preseason with the team and feel very comfortable with the group,” Starikov said in a press release. “Signing for such an iconic club it’s an honor and I look forward to having a successful season and to helping the team in any way I can.”
The 26-year-old Alhassan spent the 2016 North American Soccer League season with the Tampa Bay Rowdies. Prior to that stint, he played more than 1,800 minutes for Minnesota United, recording four goals and six assists. Alhassan also played five seasons with the Portland Timbers.
“Kalif is a dynamic player who will help us be more competitive,” Savarese said. “He will add depth to our squad.”
The Cosmos will kick off the season when they travel to Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium to take on Puerto Rico FC March 25. They will host Miami FC in their home opener at MCU Park in Brooklyn, N.Y. Saturday, April 1 at 7 p.m. against Miami FC.