Emmanuele Sembroni: “When we get close to the end of the game, we got a little nervous because we want to bring it home so bad. You don’t want to repeat this 1-1.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Like it or not, the Cosmos are stuck in a rut.

Three games, three 1-1 draws, three matches giving up the equalizer late.

“All the games are the same story,” center back Emmanuel Sembroni said. “It becomes mental because when we get close to the end of the game, we got a little nervous because we want to bring it home so bad. You don’t want to repeat this 1-1.”

That is a hole the team must crawl out of as it meets New Amsterdam FC in a National Independent Soccer Association game at the Hudson Sports Complex in Warwick, N.Y. Friday at 6 p.m. The game will be played behind closed doors, but fans can watch at MyCujoo.TV.

Fortunately for the Cosmos, the first two games were in the NISA Independent Cup, a preseason tournament to help teams tune up for the short fall season. So, the results weren’t counted.

Last Saturday’s 1-1 season-opening tie at home with Michigan Stars FC did, and the team can ill afford to repeat history this week.

“It’s massive for us,” Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes said about Friday’s match. “After tying with a late result at home first game of the season, we have to make sure we regain that winning mentality and building confidence that way. when you have a short season, every game is going to matter. You have to make the most of it and that is the approach we’re going to take. for us, it’s just a matter of getting that winning mentality, that first win under you and then hopefully continue to build on that.”

Matt Lewis, another center back, and Sembroni called last week’s tie “frustrating.” The Cosmos watched the game and tying goal on video earlier this week.

“They didn’t create one chance, not even one chance the whole game,” Sembroni said. “That’s frustrating, right? They didn’t even shoot to our goalie one time, the whole game. Then they get the goal in a set piece that we could have done better in clearing the area. It’s frustrating. But at the same it gave us a few lessons. First, we have to close the game, if we can.”

That would be scoring an insurance goal.

“The other lesson is, if you don’t close the games, you don’t have to concede until the game is over,” Sembroni added. “That’s the lesson of the day.”

What made it frustrating for Lewis was that the Cosmos dominated play for nearly the entire match before surrendering the goal.

“Eighty-five or 80 minutes of the game we’re playing really well,” he said, before remembering a 1-1 draw with Maryland Bobcats FC in Virginia. “I don’t know if they had a shot on goal until late in the game. Then they get a set piece and they score on it, 88th minute. Same kind of situation happens with the Michigan Stars. They don’t get a chance until the 90th minute.

“So, for us, it’s keeping our composure late in the game. It’s one of those situations that we feel like as a team, once we get over that hump buckling down for the full game and getting a clean sheet or just a win in general, then that’s going to lift a lot of pressure off of us.”

Sembroni felt Michigan’s equalizer overshadowed many positives for the Cosmos.

In fact, veteran defender was optimistic the Cosmos will bounce back and flourish.

“I am extremely confident that it will be a successful season,” he said. “We just need to have the patience to keep working. I these circumstances, everything is different. I understand. We always want to win because it represents the Cosmos. this is what we are working for. All the results that we deserve will come because the team is great. The attitude is great.”