Will Jimmy Maurer return to the net for the Cosmos this Saturday as they struggle to solidify their defense? (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The Cosmos enter their third and final game of their homestand singing a familiar tune. They need to win and not tie the match.
In their past two encounters, they wound up with draws — a 3-3 deadlock against Jacksonville Armada FC Sunday and a 2-2 tie with the San Francisco Deltas Wednesday night at MCU Park.
With the North American Soccer League season down to only seven games remaining, the Cosmos cannot afford to continue to give away points at home.
This is where they stand entering Saturday night’s 7 p.m. encounter with third-place North Carolina FC (2-2-6, 12 points fall, 8-9-9. 33 overall):
The tie left the Cosmos in seventh place in the fall season standings with a 1-2-6 mark and nine points. In the overall standings, the Cosmos are in fifth place with a 7-6-12 mark and 33 points.
Moreover, they are 3-3-7 at home this season, earning only 16 points out of possible 39, which could spell doom for their post-season hopes if they can’t turn it around during the stretch run.
They haven’t won at home — or at all for that matter — since a 3-1 victory over Miami FC July 29, their fall season home opener. That is almost two months ago.
The Cosmos’ first two games on this homestand has been a contrast in styles with similar results.
They overcame a three-goal deficit against Jacksonville to rescue a point Sunday.
Three days later, they squandered a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes, which is a no-no when you’re playing at home.
Depending on your vantage point, you can say their glass is half full or half empty.
An optimist would note the team has a three-game unbeaten streak (0-0-3).
A realist might point out that the team is winless in eight consecutive matches with a 0-2-6 mark, while surrendering 17 goals during that span. Teams usually don’t qualify for the playoffs or win championships with defenses like that, especially during the stretch run.
Head coach Giovanni Savarese, who has guided the club to three Soccer Bowl titles in the past four years, has struggled to find the right combination on defense, team, backline and in the net. He has used three goalkeepers in the past four matches — Jimmy Maurer, Kyle Zobeck and Brian Holt — as the Cosmos have conceded 10 goals.
If the Cosmos can’t secure a win against North Carolina, there will be no question that the glass is less than half full.