Cosmos Record Second Unbeaten Season at Home, Set New Record Streak

IMAGE, NASL

by JAKE NUTTING

Maybe its the comfort of being close to the ones you love. It could be their intimate knowledge of the uniquely challenging turf that gives them a leg up.  Perhaps they just get really amped up to hear Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does it Better” blasted over the PA system as has become the tradition at all their home matches.

Or maybe they’ve just gotten all the necessary breaks.

Whatever the reason, its undeniable that the New York Cosmos are as close to unstoppable as any team can be whenever they play at Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium.

Before the first half of Saturday night’s home finale was even over, the Cosmos had posted four goals on the visiting Miami FC. With their spot at the top of both league tables and the postseason seeding locked up, no one would’ve batted an eye if the Cosmos engaged autopilot last night. But that’s not the philosophy head coach Gio Savarese has instilled in his team over the course of the past four seasons.

“We said from the beginning that this stadium was going to be a fortress for us,” Savarese said after dispatching Miami. “This was going to be a place that teams come in and have a difficult time playing against us.”

Last night’s victory extended New York’s unbeaten streak at home to 19 matches, breaking their own record of 18 matches. It also ensured the team finished the regular season without dropping a single match in front of their home supporters for the first time since the reboot season in 2013.

“When we are home the guys take it to a different level because they know that we always have to be better here at home to be sure that we accumulate as many points as we can,” Savarese said. “They’ve done a fantastic job, not only this year but in the past as well.”

Fantastic seems like an understatement. His Cosmos have posted a loss four times at Shuart Stadium since they started playing their four years ago. One loss for every season they’ve played. The two teams currently vying to claim the fourth postseason spot for the right to play the Cosmos in the semifinal round of The Championship, Rayo OKC and Minnesota United, have lost six and four matches at home this year alone.

With 14 wins and two draws under their belt in the regular season, the Cosmos will be intimidating hosts to whichever team does win that fourth spot. Locking up home field advantage for the postseason was definitely on the minds of the players, who fully acknowledge the importance of staying close to home.

“Winning the Fall Season to play at home in the playoffs is massive for us,” said Ruben Bover. “We know the pitch well. I think we play great here. Not having to travel five or six hours, not staying in the hotel, being able to be with your family, with your close friends is important.

“We knew that we were going to have to have that home advantage because I think it’s very important in this league. Hopefully we take advantage of it.”

If they can keep the streak going into the playoffs and and prevail in the semifinal, the Cosmos will unfortunately not be able to rely on their Shuart Stadium mojo for the final. The facility is booked for the same weekend as the NASL final and Hofstra is not open to allowing the team schedule the match on weekday. An announcement of a replacement venue is expected to be made by the club soon.

The Cosmos future at Shuart past this year is also uncertain, though. Their postseason match on November 5 could very well be the last match they ever play at the lucky venue if rumors of the team moving to a new home next season prove true.

But for now, they are guaranteed at least one more match in their unlikely “fortress.”


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