Cosmos return to action, host Detroit City tonight

Kickoff set for 7:00pm, watch live on MyCujoo
Published Sep 9, 2020

The New York Cosmos will make up for lost time in a hurry this week.

After being off for 19 days, they return to National Independent Soccer Association action on Wednesday night as they will play twice within four days.

The Cosmos will host Detroit City FC in a fall season match at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. at 7 p.m. They will then travel south to meet Chattanooga FC on Saturday night.

Both games are closed-door encounters and will be streamed live on MyCujoo.

The Cosmos (1-0-1, 4 points) can't wait until they can return to the field.

"We've been training hard," head coach Carlos Mendes said. "Training was something that we wanted to focus on. It was an opportunity to get some guys healthy that were banged up a little bit. So, it was positive that way.

"Now you jump right back into it and there's going to be a stretch of a lot of games in a short period. That'll be the challenge. Guys will have opportunities to play. It's going to be a lot of travel, a lot of games, something that everybody will have to deal with. We're looking forward to being back on the field."

During the gap between games, the Cosmos players have kept their focus, especially in the wake of the pandemic.

"Everybody is going to support each other in these difficult and complicated times," Mendes said. "There is a lot going on. There's a lot of bigger things going on than just the soccer world. Everybody's stressed and dealing with it."

Forward Isaac Acuna injured his hamstring in mid-August but has recovered enough that he could see some action this week.

"The time off helped him get his fitness back," Mendes said. "He'll have to continue to sharpen up, grow his game fitness, which comes with minutes in a game."

Mendes called Detroit City FC (1-1-1, 4), a 2019 Cosmos nemesis, "a very good team, an organized and hard-working team, which for me is dynamic."

"You have to be disciplined," he added. "You have to put together a full game for 90 plus minutes if you're going to have an opportunity to beat them. You can’t give away anything easy."

In last season's confrontations, Detroit City FC prevailed at home before tying the Cosmos at Mitchel en route to the NPSL Members Cup crown.

"When we went there, I thought we played well," Mendes said. "We ended up getting a player sent off and it changed the game. I thought we put in a good performance. Maybe we could have come out of that with more, but that's part of the game. We gave up some bad goals when we played them at home, and they punished us. That's what a good team will do.

"We have to be at our best to be successful."

After the departure of Emmanuele Sembroni, Mendes has been worked to find another new center back to pair with Matt Lewis.

"We have guys who can step in and do the job," he said. "Whatever system we play, we have leaders back there. We have experienced guys. We're comfortable playing different systems. It's how we feel we can prepare for our opponents, how we're going to be successful and focus on what we can do well."

On Thursday, the Cosmos will embark for Tennessee for their final fall regular season match. They will take a bus to keep players in a traveling bubble because of the pandemic. After a stopover, the team will arrive in Chattanooga on Friday.

"It's the safest way,” Mendes said. “That's obviously the top priority. It makes the travel much longer. It's something that everybody is dealing with and were prepared for."

Regardless how they fare in their final two matches, the Cosmos will participate in NISA's postseason tournament, set for a neutral venue from September 21-October 2.

"Everyone is excited to be back on the field and playing competitive games and preparing now for the most exciting part of the season," Mendes said. "Everyone is looking forward to it."