PLAYER OF THE WEEK | Cosmos Midfielder Juan Arango

The Venezuelan midfielder scored twice in his NASL debut to claim the honor
NASL Staff | Apr 5, 2016

Juan Arango has scored goals wherever he has played – La Liga, Bundesliga, Liga MX, and other top divisions – and the New York Cosmos midfielder’s NASL debut was no different.

Arango’s pair of first-half goals earned him NASL Player of the Week honors, and helped the Cosmos open the 2016 season with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ottawa Fury FC at Shuart Stadium on Sunday. The season-opening tilt was a rematch of The Championship Final from last year.

“It’s an honor to be recognized by the league,” Arango said. “Putting aside my two goals, I think the team played quite well. In the first half, it was about scoring goals, which I was fortunate to do with help from my teammates. In the second half, it was about maintaining the result, and we were up to the challenge.”

The better part of the first half was evenly matched on Sunday, but Arango struck twice in three minutes to put the Cosmos in front, 2-0, going into the locker room at halftime. In the 36th minute, Costa Rican international Jairo Arrieta squared the ball for Arango, who finished into an open net from inside the penalty area. Two minutes later, a rebound off the hands of Fury FC goalkeeper Romuald Peiser was powered home by Arango to double the hosts’ lead.

"Juan had a very good game, and he was smart in finding spaces and being able to get those balls in the right area in order to score,” Cosmos coach Giovanni Savarese said. “He had two other chances on top of the goals, and they happened because he was very smart in the way he moved. It was very important for us to find those two goals in key moments to be able to control the match. He was huge for us.”

Arango arrived in New York this offseason as perhaps the most decorated player in the history of the Venezuelan national team. The 35-year-old midfielder has 23 international goals to his name, as well as 128 appearances – both all-time highs for La Vinotinto.

The Maracay, Venezuela, native played in Spain’s top divisions with Mallorca from 2004-2009 and after that, in Germany’s top flights with Borussia Monchengladbach until 2014. Arango has also spent time with four different Liga MX teams – Monterrey, Pachuca, Puebla, and Tijuana – over the course of his long career.

Arango is joined by a pair of fellow Venezuelan national team members – past and present – in New York, with his boss, Savarese, and fellow teammate Yohandry Orozco representing the country on the senior level at one point in time.

The Cosmos remain at home this weekend, preparing to host Jacksonville Armada FC on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. The match can be seen live on ONE World Sports and

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