Matt Lewis: “We kind of have a sour taste in our mouth with them because of the way they celebrated.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Not that the Cosmos need any extra motivation for a game, Matt Lewis has found just a little more prior to the team’s match with New Amsterdam FC Friday night.

It’s how New Amsterdam celebrated its stoppage-time equalizer with the Cosmos in the NISA Independent Cup on Aug. 2. Michael Bello tallied 16 seconds into injury time to salvage a 1-1 tie.

New Amsterdam played their team radio loudly in their locker room at the Hudson Sports Complex in Warwick, N.Y.

“We kind of have a sour taste in our mouth with them because of the way they celebrated,” Lewis said. “Obviously, it’s an exciting time for them. For the first game against us and they get a result. As a Cosmos player, we’re never really celebrating a tie. We saw the way they were celebrating in front of us and we’re really, really anxious to get back on the field and play them again. We feel like we didn’t take care of us business the first time so we’re looking forward to do it this time.”

Lewis cautioned NAFC did not do anything disrespectful.

“Their celebration was just a little obnoxious for a late 1-1 tie in our opinion,” he said. “It was just unfortunate. You could hear their locker room music from our locker room space. We left that game feeling like we lost three-nil and it just seemed like they left it feeling like they won 3-0 or something like or a World Cup final. We’re just excited to go back out there and show them what we’ve got.”

That will take place at the same venue in Warwick with a 6 p.m. Friday kickoff. Three points will be on the line in New Amsterdam FC’s National Independent Soccer Association debut.

Lewis said it was the beginning of what could be a good lower-division soccer rivalry in the metropolitan area.

“There is a lot of room for it to grow,” he said. “But at the same time, our fans take a lot of pride in New York soccer and the Cosmos being the premier soccer choice for our fans. … We’re going to take this game like it’s a battle for New York. I think every time we play this team, its going to feel the same way, for sure.”

Every NISA team is playing an abbreviated schedule this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cosmos have four regular season matches scheduled.

Lewis might not necessarily like having fewer games in which to compete, but he understands why it is happening.

Fewer games are better than none.

“They’re doing the best they can with the situation they’ve got,” Lewis said. “It’s tough for a new league. To come in and have a bold plan, they’re doing the best they can getting some games in. I think it’s all just a build-up for the playoffs. It’s hard to call it a league. It’s more like a showcase of the league and what is to come, the future years. I think they’re doing well with it.”