It didn’t take long for Carlos Mendes to start thinking about the Cosmos’ next game and challenge.
“About right when the referee blew the whistle,” the Cosmos head coach said about his team’ 2-1 comeback win at the Milwaukee Torrent Saturday.
The result kept the team in the drivers’ seat in its quest for the NPSL Members Cup crown. The Cosmos leads the six-team league with a 6-0-2 mark and 20 points with two games remaining in the season. Their next match will be against the only other undefeated side in the league, Detroit City FC (5-0-1, 16), at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. on Saturday at 7 p.m.
The Members Cup won’t have any playoff games, so whomever finishes first in the 10-game season will be declared champions.
Detroit City FC has two games in hand on the Cosmos. The team’s next contest will be played Tuesday, Oct. 8 at 7:30 p.m. against fourth-place Michigan Stars FC (2-3-1) at Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Mich. Cosmos fans can watch the game on www.myvjoo.tv. The same squads will tussle again at nearby Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, Mich. on Wednesday, Oct. 16.
As it turns out, the Cosmos could be in a position to clinch the Members Cup title if Detroit City FC loses to its neighbors and New York records a victory to secure three points this Saturday.
Detroit City FC kept pace with the Cosmos, recording a 1-0 win at FC Chattanooga on Saturday night.
The Cosmos usually don’t do much scoreboard watching as they are more concerned about their own performances, but it will be difficult not to because Tuesday’s match is a rare mid-week Members Cup encounter.
“We’ll see what happens when they play,” Mendes said. “But we’re ready to go into the game with the mentality that we have to win at home, and we have to beat a very good team. That’s how we’re going to prepare. It’ll be a good challenge. At home the top two teams are playing each other. It’ll be fun.”
No one needs to remind Cosmos center back Matt Lewis, who scored the game-winning goal against Milwaukee, about the importance of Saturday’s confrontation.
In the first game between these two clubs, the Cosmos registered a 1-1 road draw on Sept. 21 as Darwin Espinal connected for the visitors’ equalizer for an important road point.
“When we went to Detroit, it was a huge game at the time and now it’s bigger,” Lewis said. “We’re running out of games, running out of places to drop and pick up points. If we can take three points from them and get three points from ourselves, that’s a six-point swing that we’ll take every day of the week. Quite frankly, we need to have this thing in our own hands. Hopefully, we can take it to them … with one job to do. This game’s huge.”
After Saturday’s game, the Cosmos will finish the season at Napa Valley 1839 FC on Saturday, Oct. 19.