Cosmos close out 2020 with rescheduled match against Baltimore Christos

Kickoff set for 3:00pm, streamed live on MyCujoo
Published Oct 9, 2020
The New York Cosmos finish their year against FC Baltimore Christos on Saturday while looking ahead to the second half of the NISA 2020-21 season.
Head coach Carlos Mendes will use the rescheduled NISA Independent Cup game at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. to give younger players on the team an opportunity to impress.
The contest is a make-up match from August, when inclement weather in Leesburg, Va. forced its postponement.
Mendes said that he plans to use several younger players during the 3 p.m. closed-door match. Some players who have been on trial with the team this week also might see some action, he said.
"We want to end on a good note," he said. "We weren’t happy with the way the tournament finished. It's important for us to perform well. It’s an opportunity also to look at a lot of young players who, in a very short season, didn't get opportunities to play."
Mendes said a combination of veterans and new faces will comprise the team.
"You'll definitely see guys who are on the team who have played minutes that have been part of the group who have contributed this season," he said. "You'll definitely see some guys who you haven't seen yet and didn't play in a short season or didn't get into too many game situations and some younger guys."
The Cosmos are looking to add young players for the spring season.
"We want to look younger," Mendes said. "We've recognized a lot of talented young players. Thinking about the future, you still have to have a balance of players that have been there, done that, who understand and have been through the difficult matches and then also young guys who are hungry and want to bring energy and are motivated. Of course, veteran guys are motivated but there's a difference between a player who is 18, 19 and brings a certain energy.
"We're definitely going to consider young players. That was something we tried to focus on this year but considering how the season was, it was a little bit more difficult. Hopefully, we'll have a full year to work with, a full offseason, an understanding on how we can build for a normal season."
Two Cosmos expected to get playing time are 17-year-old forward Leo Guarino, who has competed in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy for the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC, and 22-year-old midfielder CJ Weinstein, a Sacred Heart University graduate. To date, the Cosmos have been limited to nine games - two in the Independent Cup, four in the regular season and three in the Fall Tournament.
Mendes called Guarino "a good talent."
"Leo hasn't had an opportunity," he added. "He will feature and play some. Looking forward to seeing him because he's been working hard all year. CJ Weinstein's another player that has been training with the team all year. Brings a lot of a energy. He's a physical defender.
"This is a perfect opportunity to get guys a game. This year has been difficult. A lot of games got cancelled. In a normal season you can have exhibitions and more scrimmages and matches."
Coached by Larry Sancomb, FC Baltimore Christos will be a familiar foe to the Cosmos, who eliminated the two-time National Premier Soccer League Mid-Atlantic Conference champions in the Northeast regional final of the 2019 playoffs.
Mendes said he expected a competitive match.
"We have to be at our best if we're going to beat them," he said. "We've seen them before. We know that they can compete well and bring a lot of energy and they have some quality. It'll be a good challenge and match-up for us."
While the Cosmos endured a frustrating season, they felt they posted a big win in keeping healthy.
No player or a member of the coaching staff has tested positive for COVID-19. Since players commuted from Long Island, New York City and New Jersey to practice and had families, that was not necessarily an easy task.
"We're really proud of the group, the way they handled themselves," Mendes said. "There are a lot of things that go into it, a lot of responsibility that you're doing everything you can. On the club side we were provided everything. Personal life is another story. When you look at it, it's just amazing that that many players, staff, everybody, didn't have one positive case. We hope to continue that.
"Hopefully, next year we won't be in the situation where we have to worry about this so much. We were out there playing, which was the most important thing."
The Cosmos were tested for COVID-19 by Nassau University Medical Center personnel prior to training.
"They were great," Mendes said. "Testing, screening, everything was on a daily basis. It ran very smoothly from the beginning. We're grateful to them. It was a great partnership. In really difficult times, they made it as smooth as possible."
Saturday’s 3 p.m. match will be streamed live on MyCujoo.