Carlos Mendes: “We can’t feel bad for ourselves. We have to get back to work this week and be ready for a difficult game in Chattanooga.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — There’s no rest for the weary these days and that includes the Cosmos.
Three days after losing in Saturday’s National Premier Soccer League final, the Cosmos will return to the practice field at Mitchel Athletic Complex Tuesday to start to prepare for the start of the NPSL Members Cup season.
The inaugural competition kicks off for the Cosmos as they visit Chattanooga FC on Saturday at 7 p.m.
“To be honest, we have to learn from this,” Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes said after his side went down to a 3-1 home defeat to Miami FC on Saturday. “We have to grow. We have to continue to get better. Like we would do with any game throughout the season, we go through our ups and downs.
“We have to take the things that we did well and continue to grow on that and be sharper and work on the things that we have to get better with. If we do that, we’ll be successful. Now we have to worry now about the Members Cup. We can’t feel bad for ourselves. We have to get back to work this week and be ready for a difficult game in Chattanooga.”
The Cosmos battled back to slice the lead in half on left back Ansi Agolli’s third goal in four playoff matches. They dominated the final half hour of the game but could not find the range.
“You have disappointment for the fans, the club,” Mendes said. “You have a final at home. There were a lot of good moments for us. We did a lot of good things against a very good team. We made some mistakes. They executed on their chances and we didn’t. That was the difference in the game to me. Credit to them because they were a very good team. They were dangerous and executed when they got the opportunity.
“It can be cruel sometimes, but that’s the way it is.”
Players took the result hard.
“It was a tough game,” striker Bledi Bardic said. “I’d say we were the better team. They scored their chances and we didn’t score on our chances. We some mistakes.
“I feel awful. I wanted to win so bad. I guess we’ve got to take what this is and move on.”
Afterwards, Mendes talked briefly to the team.
“Listen, I’m proud of you guys, thank you for the effort,” he said he told the team. “It’s difficult. There’s not too much to say after a final like that. We have more games to play. We have another season now, a new start. We have to be prepared.”
Team captain Danny Szetela endured a difficult first half as he twice lost the ball that led to Dylan Mares goals within a two-minute span.
“I feel I let the guys down,” he said.
“I made two mistakes in the first half when they scored both of their goals, giving the ball always in the middle of the field, which I never make or if I do make it, I never do it twice.”
After kicking off the 10-game regular season in Chattanooga, the Cosmos return to Mitchel to host the Milwaukee Torrent on Saturday, Aug. 17 at 7 p.m. It will be the first of five home matches running through the end of October.
“We get to play another big game next week,” goalkeeper Paul Blanchette said. “It’s going to be a good season again, a lot of good games to come. So, we have to stay motivated and stay on top of our game because this next season is very important for this club as well.”