Isaac Acuna enjoyed one of the most memorable debuts for a Cosmos. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Not too shabby of a start.
Not only did Isaac Acuna make his Cosmos debut on Sunday night, he gave a little preview of his potential.
Only 15 minutes after coming on at halftime, the 29-year-old forward scored in the Cosmos’ 5-0 victory over the Greater Lowell Rough Riders on Sunday night.
“He’s starting to know the group, what to expect,” head coach Carlos Mendes said. “It’s important for strikers to score goals to get confidence. He just has to find his rhythm. He’s still getting to know his teammates. He’s got quality. His mentality’s right. So, expect more from him.”
Sounds like some scary words for the rest of the league as the National Premier Soccer League playoffs loom.
Acuna has trained some with the squad, so he’s still learning about his new teammates.
“In the training sessions, you get to know guys tendencies, what to expect from them,” Mendes said. ” think that’s helped. I think its up from here. He will continue to grow. He’s a professional. He knows what it understands, what it means to be successful at this level. If he comes in and gels well, he is going to be a threat for us.”
Striker Bledi Bardic continued his marvelous season, scoring twice to raise his league goal total to nine and 11 overall, including the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. He tallied 12 goals in 11 games last year before a hamstring injury sidelined him for the playoffs.
No doubt Bardic has found his zone.
“Confidence is the first thing,” Mendes said. Strikers, everyone goes through it. They miss a couple of chances and the net seems to get smaller. Once you find that rhythm, they relax and open up. That’s the case with Bledi. He’s putting himself in good spots. The first couple of goals came and he’s got that confidence. His movement has been better. We’ve worked putting him in better spots, making better runs and it’s leading to goals.”
And wins, as well. In fact, many, many wins.
The North Atlantic Conference leaders continued their amazing regular-season winning streak. The Cosmos (11-0-0, 33 points) have won 21 consecutive matches dating back to the start of the 2018 season. They also lead the NPSL power rankings.
If they run the table in the remaining three matches — they are all at home — the Cosmos will secure home-field advantage for the entire postseason.
“It’s huge, obviously,” Mendes said. “I said it before the game, we want to be home as much as possible. The players will be difficult. Securing a spot like that and try as many as you can at home. Good win tonight. I think the mentality was right at the start. We had consistency. It’s important we’ve been harping on that, trying to be more consistent.”
The Cosmos have three regular-season games remaining this season at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y.
They welcome the Rhode Island Reds 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.