Bledi Bardic: “This team is always going to compete for a championship, no matter what league, no matter what division. This is a great, great team.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — For many teams, just reaching the playoffs in their league can be considered a major accomplishment.
For Cosmos B, it only means it will be the start of a second journey during the National Premier Soccer League postseason.
The team, of course, is aiming for a championship.
Forward Bledi Bardic has some great expectations for the team. Cosmos B captured the 2015 NPSL title and the Cosmos, who are on hiatus this season, has celebrated a record eight North American Soccer League championships.
“This is the New York Cosmos,” said Bardic, who scored his sixth goal in a 5-0 home triumph over defending champion Elm City Express Saturday night, a result that not only clinched a playoff spot but the North Atlantic Conference Division crown as well. “This team has won before at other levels, at the highest levels, so this team is always going to compete for a championship, no matter what league, no matter what division. This is a great, great team.”
Cosmos B (24 points) improved to 8-0 with two games remaining in the regular season. They want to run the table and finish 10-0-0 with its final road match at Hartford City FC Saturday and a home game against Kingston Stockade SC at Commisso Stadium July 7.
“I think it’s one of the goals what we had our list to obtain so it’s great to check that one off already,” defender Jonathan Borrajo said. “But there’s still a lot of work to be done. There’s still a couple of games left in the league. The playoffs, there’s a lot of games to get to the finals.”
Yes, there are.
The divisional semifinals are set for Wednesday, July 11, which Cosmos B will host. No venue has been selected, but it will be at either Hofstra Soccer Stadium or Commisso Stadium. The winner will play in the divisional final Saturday, July 14.
Cosmos B are confident and focused.
“We have a group of guys that is willing to battle for each other,” said forward WojciechWojcik, who also scored Saturday night. “Carlos and Luis [Gutierrez, assistant coach] demand that from us every time we step on the field. It took us some time, but we have come together as a team and we are playing good soccer. The next game is the most important for us. That’s all that matters.”
Asked what the team’s next challenge was, head coach Carlos Mendes replied, “To continue to win to win as many games as possible, focus on one game at a time. We have a tough one coming up this weekend. That’s the goal. We want to be playing the best soccer going into the playoffs. That’s what we need to do.”