Carlos Mendes: “We want to look younger. We’ve recognized a lot of talented young players who are looking for an opportunity. ” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

When the Cosmos tussle with FC Baltimore Christos in their season finale Saturday, don’t be surprised if there are some young faces in their Starting XI or those who come on as substitutes.

They will be looking toward next year with the hopes of giving some of their younger players and perhaps some trialists an opportunity to show what they can do.

The Cosmos will host the Maryland side in the NISA Independent Cup game at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. in a closed-door match at 3 p.m. (MyCujoo.TV).

The encounter is a make-up match from August, when inclement weather in Leesburg, Va. forced its postponement.

New York is looking to add young players for the National Independent Soccer Association spring season.

“We want to look younger,” head coach Carlos Mendes said. “We’ve recognized a lot of talented young players who are looking for an opportunity. Thinking about the future, you still have to have a balance of players that have been there, done that, who understand and have been through the difficult matches and then also young guys who are hungry and want to bring energy and are motivated. Of course, veteran guys are motivated but there’s a difference between a player who is 18, 19 who brings a certain energy.”

That doesn’t mean the Cosmos won’t be trying to win the game.

“We want to end on a good note,” he said. “We were’ happy with the way the playoffs finished. It’s important for us to perform well. It’s an opportunity also to look at a lot of young players who in a very short season didn’t get opportunities or a lot of opportunities to play.”

The Cosmos finished the NISA Fall Tournament winless in three games (0-2-1) in Hamtramck, Mich. last month.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at