By Michael Lewis
Sacir Hot makes no bones about it.
The FC Motown head coach says either his team or Cosmos B will capture the National Premier Soccer League title.
A meeting between the two teams wouldn’t happen until the Northeast Region semifinals or final because they play in two different conferences.
Cosmos B is ranked atop the NPSL power rankings, FC Motown is No. 2.
“I think that’s what happens. I think honestly think whoever wins our game is going to win the NPSL,” Hot said during a recent interview. “I think that’s what it is. The last four of the six winners of the NPSL have come from the Northeast region. Unless we shoot ourselves in the foot or the Cosmos shoot themselves in the foot, it pretty much will be a battle of the two giants.”
Both teams enter the weekend with perfect records.
FC Motown (21 points), which battles Hershey FC, is 7-0-0 in its 10-game regular season. A win and losses by West Chester United Soccer Club (6-2-0, 18) and Junior Lone Star FC (6-2-0, 18) would give the New Jersey side the Keystone Conference crown.
Cosmos B (8-0-0, 24), which clinched the North Atlantic Conference title last week, visits second-place Hartford City FC (5-2-1).
“I think we’re on an upward trajectory,” Hot said. “We haven’t had any bumps. We’ve dealt with every bump the right way. Our conference is pretty forgiving compared to the Cosmos’ conference and we’ve dealt with anything that has been thrown at us. So, I am pretty happy with that. I think the real test comes later in the season in the playoffs. And if we end up making it if and the Cosmos end up making it, I think that will be the real test. I think we’re pretty much in cruise control now until the end.”
Former Montclair State forward Michael Olla, who has played with Harrisburg and Penn (United Soccer League), has scored five goals in his past two games after missing the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup with an injury. Four of those goals came in a 6-1 win over Hershey FC June 13.
“He’s kind of lighting it up,” Hot said. “Our defense is 10 times stronger than our Open Cup defense. Dilly’s [Duka] going to show up when he needs to. Mike Olla has really kind of surprised me with his play.”
Hot was referring to former Red Bulls midfielder Dilly Duka. FC Motown also boasts ex-Trinidad & Tobago international Julius James and former Major League Soccer. Veteran defender Hunter Freeman, who performed for the the Cosmos and in MLS and signed with the club prior to the season, has yet to play for FC Motown.
“I’m not sure what’s going on with Hunter,” Hot said, adding that the club has two owners and that Freeman was dealing with one of the owners. “I’m not sure where they left off. I don’t know if Hunter is trying to get a job somewhere or he’s been busy. I’ve never dealt with him. I don’t see him coming back any time soon.”