Isaac Acuna scored in his first NPSL Members Cup game. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — Immediately after the Cosmos defeated Napa Valley 1839 FC Saturday night, striker Isaac Acuna called his wife Carla in California to tell her he dedicated his goal to her and his daughter.
“I speak to her every day,” he said after the 1-0 home win. “Right now, she’s telling me that we played bad, but at least I got a goal. She saw the game.”
As it turns out, Carla is a soccer fan and knows the beautiful game well. She has two brothers who play with Querétaro F.C. in Liga MX.
“So, all of her family knows soccer,” Acuna said.
Acuna, who scored three goals in nine games while on loan to Querétaro from America in 2011, agreed with his bride, although it certainly felt good to score his first goal of the NPSL Members Cup season. He missed the opening three games of the season with a right hamstring injury incurred during the National Premier Soccer League final against Miami FC on Aug. 3.
“That’s something that you have to be careful about,” Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes said. “It takes a few weeks. But he’s a big piece. Whether he’s a target man or running off the ball, he’s so strong, good in the air. He gives us another look when he’s in the game.”
The 30-year-old striker made a memorable debut for the first-place Cosmos (3-0-1, 10 points) when he found the net only 15 minutes after coming on at halftime of the 5-0 win over the Greater Lowell Rough Diamonds in the NPSL on June 29.
“He’s a key player for us,” Mendes said. “He’s been out a while so it’s good to see him start, start to get some rhythm and get the goals because a striker needs the confidence. He’ll be a big piece moving forward and we’re happy to having him back.”
After watching the veteran forward train, Mendes felt Acuna was ready to be put back into the fray.
“He’s been working hard,” he said. “He wants to be out there. He is a true pro and a guy who’s competitive. He’s looked sharp at training and we figured we’d give him a start.”
Acuna did make the best of his injury situation. While he was recovering from his hamstring injury, Acuna returned home to California to get married before returning to the team.
He also made the best out of a left-wing cross by Ansi Agolli in the 58th minute on Saturday night.
“Throughout the game Ansi was [sending] a lot of crosses,” Acuna said. “Me and Aly [Hassan, forward] weren’t there in the area. Darwin [Espinal] put the ball to Ansi and Ansi put it in the air. The goalie left it in the area, and I got lucky and hit it.
“I was very happy because I could help the team win the match, but to be honest I think we had a bad game. We didn’t do what we were supposed to do, like we had a plan throughout the week, but we didn’t do it. That’s three points and now we think about the other game next week.”
“Like a friend said right now, ‘You did your job, you scored a goal, that’s your job to score a goal. You should be happy.’ I hope I can score next week.”
That would be against the Michigan Stars at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. Saturday at 7 p.m.