Matt Lewis: “I was pretty excited. I was relieved to be honest. It has been a long time coming for me. I’m getting on the end of a lot of stuff, but not converting.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
Matt Lewis admits he doesn’t remember the last time he scored the winning goal in a game.
“I don’t even remember that. I couldn’t tell you that,” he said. “It had to be at Fordham. I thought [Saturday’s] game was a much bigger one than that. We needed to get those three points. Lucky that I was the one to be on the end of it.”
Lewis, a graduate of Fordham University, headed in a Darwin Espinal corner kick in the 47th minute to snap a 1-1 deadlock and give the Cosmos a 2-1 lead that they turned into a victory over the host Milwaukee Torrent by that same score.
Of course, as a defender and a center back, Lewis hasn’t t gotten many opportunities outside of set pieces in and around the penalty area.
Which was the case on Saturday night.
“It was a pretty typical corner,” Lewis said. “Me and [center back Emmanuele] Sembroni worked off each other a little bit, confused the defenders, made them think a little bit more than normal. I got open. A ball got put in perfectly on my head and from that point on it was just getting it on target, putting it on the ground so it would skip. I guess the rest kind of it did itself.
“I felt that was long overdue.”
Needless to say, Lewis was elated. While playing for Fordham University, he was much better known for his defensive prowess, rather, helping the Rams on their deep run in the NCAA Division I tournament. During his four-year college career, Lewis found the net five times in 84 matches.
“I was pretty excited,” he said. “I was relieved to be honest. It has been a long time coming for me. I’m getting on the end of a lot of stuff, but not converting.”
And perhaps the 23-year-old center back will get another goal or two, especially in the two remaining games. The first-place Cosmos (6-0-2, 20 points) take on second-place Detroit City FC (5-0-1, 16 point) at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. on Saturday at 7 p.m., an encounter that could very well decide the NPSL Members Cup crown. They finish the season at Napa Valley 1839 FC on Saturday, Oct. 19.
“It’s huge,” Lewis said of what scoring the goal meant to him. “You always want to help the team in every way you can. We needed a goal and I was glad to provide it; but also for another reason. I’ve gotten my head on a lot of things in the box this year and I’ve been on the end of a lot of crosses and I couldn’t convert, so just glad to get on the scoresheet and hopefully that maybe could lead to something, some more confidence moving forward.”
Overcoming an early one-goal deficit gave Lewis and his teammates some confidence as well, they came back after surrendering the first goal for the third game in a row. Part of the game was played in the rain.
“It was a tough game for us,” he said. “The weather was not great. They came to try to steal a goal quick and then milk the clock and then pull every tactic in the book to delay and to get into our heads. We showed a lot of character, not really panicking after we conceded that first goal. After 10 minutes that can be super demoralizing, but we bounced back and did what we needed to do.”