Sal Barone: “That’s probably one of the most important things for us — stay at home for the rest of the games.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
NEW YORK — With four games remaining in the regular season — all home matches — the Cosmos are in the drivers’ seat to determine their fate on whether they gave host all their encounters in the upcoming National Premier Soccer League playoffs.
They can take a big step in that direction when they host the Great Lowell Rough Riders at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Cosmos (10-0-0, 30 points) enter the contest as the lone NPSL team that won all of its games, including all seven road matches.
Midfielder Sal Barone thought the squad is peaking at the right time.
“Definitely,” he said. “We’re getting our confidence also. We have a lot of depth on the team. We’re playing very well at the moment. Confidence is very important to the guys. We’re all working hard.”
Added head coach Carlos Mendes: “Well, you hope that we are growing. We’ve been improving, but we still have to get better. We still have to correct some things and continue to work. you hope that you’re peaking going into the playoffs and playing your best throughout if you’re lucky enough to move on. That’s something that you have to prepare for because if you don’t show up one day at the end of the year, you’re going home.”
Not hitting the road for any away games could go a lot way to the Cosmos to reach their goal as league champions.
“That’s probably one of the most important things for us — stay at home for the rest of the games,” Barone said. “Hosting the playoffs would be a amazing opportunity for us because we have such an amazing crowd. Playing the rest of the season at home is going to give us great momentum. We’ll be able to play at our best.”
Not traveling could go a long way in keeping the players in shape.
“It’s easier on the body physically for the guys,” Mendes said. It gives you energy to play in front of your own fans and knowing the field. Knowing where we’re going to play is huge. We have a lot to play for still. That’s why we can’t lose focus.”
Even against Greater Lowell (3-5-2, 11), which is in fifth place in the North Atlantic Conference. On May 17, the Cosmos recorded a 7-1 win at the Rough Diamonds, the most goals they have scored this season.
They are not entering the match overconfident.
“We come into the game with same mentality and forget about before and focus, said Barone, who scored a golazo in that match.
Mendes agreed. That match is in the past.
“Every game presents a different challenge,” he said its continue to build and be consistent on what we want to do. and to improve on make sure we play with the right mentality and tempo”
After Greater Lowell, the Cosmos welcome Rhode Island on June 30 at 5 p.m., Brooklyn Italians on July 3 at 8 p.m. and Kingston Stockade FC on July 6 at 7 p.m.
The playoffs most likely would begin the second weekend in July.