Carlos Mendes: “I don’t think honestly for us it changed anything, We came in with the mentality to win this game. ” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis Editor

NEW YORK — Even though Cosmos B already had qualified for the next round of the National Premier Soccer League playoff prior to kickoff, head coach Carlos Mendes did not think that affected his team against the Brooklyn Italians in the North Atlantic Conference final Saturday night.

New York advanced, besting the Italians in a shootout, 5-4, after playing to a 1-1 draw after 120 minutes.

Under Northeast Region regulations, Cosmos B had reached the regional tournament by advancing to the conference final because it had accrued the most points of Keystone, Mid-Atlantic and North Atlantic finalists.

Cosmos B got off to a slow start in the match before Brooklyn grabbed a 1-0 lead in the 67th minute at Commisso Stadium.

“I don’t think honestly for us it changed anything,” Mendes said. “We came in with the mentality to win this game. You don’t know with the wildcard and things like that. Even though you might now you have another game, you want that winning mentality. So for us it’s the same game plan to come and win. We got the result. It was a very, very difficult game. We worked a lot. A lot of guys ran today. That’s good but we need to recover and be ready for Wednesday.”

That’s when Cosmos B host Mid-Atlantic Conference playoff champion FC Frederick at Hofstra Soccer Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y. at 7:30 p.m.

It will be the team’s third game in eight days as it has played two consecutive matches that lasted 120 minutes.

So, recovery was vital especially after Cosmos B overcame its rivals.

“It was a difficult game,” Mendes said. “Brooklyn did well, like they always do against us. They made it hard. We got off to a very poor start, disjointed. They were first and second to every ball and it showed. I think the response, especially when we were a man down, the effort from the guys, battled, kept fighting and found a way. That’s good. It’s the sign of a good team, finding a result when it’s not easy. I’m proud of them.”