By Michael Lewis
So, just how many formations and systems did the Cosmos use this season?
Head coach Giovanni Savarese used seven formations this past season to reach the North American Soccer League championship game.
Let us count the ways:
* In New York’s season opener against Puerto Rico FC, a scoreless draw March 25 Savarese deployed a 4-2-3-1.
* In the Cosmos’ home opener, he used a 4-3-3 in a distressing 3-0 loss to Miami FC April 1.
* In the team’s third game, Cosmos lined up in a 3-6-1 and managed to dispute host Miami FC en route to a surprising 2-0 victory April 8.
* But Savarese was far from finished, especially in the spring season. He also used a 4-1-3-2, which had a diamond in the midfield.
* He then went to a 4-4-2.
* He switched to a 4-1-4-1 to defeat the San Francisco Deltas on the road April 29.
“At some point we got back to the 4-4-2 and we got some stability with a 4-4-2, to the point we had to bring other people, other new players, and we felt we had to change the system,” Savarese said.
* Savarese then changed to a 3-5-2.
After the team found its form, he decided to go back to a 4-4-2 before playing a 4-3-3 in the final.
“We only changed the last game because we felt that the 4-4-2 would have been a little difficult to play against San Francisco because we felt that the 4-3-3 would give us more space wide and it worked out,” Savarese said. “Unfortunately, we couldn’t score, but I felt the system was the right system.”
Savarese felt his team did well going from one formation and system to another.
“They were very resilient,” he said. “They tried to learn. We tried to have continuity towards the end. We had continuity in the 4-4-2, which I think was the best system that we found. The good thing is once we changed from a 3-5-2, we mostly played 4-4-2 and we found finally consistency, what we were looking for.
“We tried to work things around with us, trying to figure things out. All the changes came more in the spring season because we felt that we were not ready. No preseason, players coming and going, and that’s where we had to be the most creative.”