Aly Hassan: “It was a great accomplishment, being out for just about two months.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
One of the bright spots of the Cosmos’ 2-2 draw with the Milwaukee Torrent last Saturday was striker Aly Hassan.
No one was happier than the 30-year-old forward, who scored the first goal for the Cosmos in the NPSL Members Cup match at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y.
“It was a great accomplishment, being out for just about two months,” Hassan said. “It’s hard, it’s hard going through all the rehab and everything to come back from an injury and all of the hard work you’re putting at the time seems like it’s far out. But at the end of the day, it pays off, hard work pays off.”
Hassan suffered a slight tear his posterior cruciate ligament — PCL — in the opening minutes of the Cosmos’ 3-1 victory over Boston City FC on June 15.
“I was going for the ball over the top,” he said. “The [Boston] center back and I tripped and landed kind of awkwardly on my knee. It was a little of a devastating blow, considering I was coming off a good run of games, scoring against the Brooklyn Italians and six goals in nine games at that point.
“Unlucky the injury came at a pretty bad time, when we were getting ready for the playoffs. It happens. You’ve just got to keep moving and bounce back. The mental part of the game is the hardest. If you can control that, things usually can work out.”
He left the game several minutes thereafter.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Hassan said. “Thankfully, I was able to recover without surgery and got back into it.”
Hassan had to go through some rehab and then regain his fitness before he was declared fit and healthy to play. He returned to action, coming on in the 70th minute in the National Premier Soccer League championship game, a 3-1 home loss to Miami FC on Aug. 3.
While his teammates trained and performed in scrimmages, Hassan was on the side, working with trainers and assistant coaches.
“The beginning was just getting my range of motion back, doing a lot of therapy,” Hassan said.
Still, the 6-3, 180-lb. attacker was patient.
“It was tough, you want to be involved,” Hassan said. “You’ve got to do things in the right time and not rush it. and yet. I was really working hard, pushing it, get back to be part of the final to play that game against my old team. So, that was a little bit of motivation for me to keep working hard and do therapy and get through.”
Cosmos players left last Saturday’s tie with Milwaukee a frustrated and disappointed squad as they allowed the visitors to score twice in the waning minutes to steal a point.
“Yeah, it stung a lot,” Hassan said. “It hurt the whole group, but it’s a learning lesson for us. In a way, having that happened, we know what we have to do. It’s unfortunate because I felt we did well for the majority of the game, worked really hard. We learned from it. We grow. It’s not going to happen again. I’m sure of it.”
The result left the Cosmos with a 1-0-1 mark.
“We have to not make those mistakes again for the rest of the season and learn how to close out games,” Hassan said.
With eight games remaining in the season — there will be no Members Cup playoffs — Hassan was confident the Cosmos will bounce back and win the league championship.
“We have a big point to prove, that each and every single game is a final for us,” he said. “This is our playoffs. We have to take every single game like it’s our last. We have to have the mentality that three points is a must. There’s no question about. We want to be champions of the Members Cup. That’s our ultimate goal.”
Hassan and his teammates have off this weekend as the Cosmos received a rare weekend bye. They will return to action against the Michigan Stars Saturday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m.
The Cosmos will host Napa Valley 1839 FC at Mitchel Saturday, Sept. 7 at 7 p.m.