Darwin Espinal and Bledi Bardic lead Cosmos B with seven goals apiece. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
UNIONDALE, N.Y. — There’s probably a good chance you won’t find any Cosmos B player as the top goalscorer in the National Premier Soccer League this season.
Even though the team has tallied 36 times, which leads the North Atlantic Conference, Cosmos B players have shared the wealth. No one has scored more than seven goals.
That makes Cosmos B (9-0-0, 27 points) all the more dangerous as it comes off its closest road match of the season, a 2-1 victory over Hartford City FC last Saturday night.
“Obviously, it’s great,” head coach Carlos Mendes said. “You’re getting goals from different areas and different people. It says a lot about the way we like to play. Offensively, we like to be dynamic. We interchange, and we like the guys to have the freedom. That has been something that has been benefiting us. The guys have responded well. We’ve had some not only good movement, we’ve had some dynamic goals, some good goals. Hopefully, we can keep that going.”
Midfielder Darwin Espinal, who scored the first goal Saturday, and Bledi Bardic lead the pack with seven goals apiece, followed by two teammates who have found the net six times — captain and midfielder Danny Szetela and forward Wojciech Wojcik.
“It’s good,” Espinal said. “It just shows we’re a selfless team. We’re trying to win games. At the end of the day, that’s what matters. It’s a good thing to score as a player — but as a team it is better for us to win. If you can find an open man, it’s better for us.”
Cosmos B has found the open man many times this season.
“To be honest, it’s just a headache for defenders because they always have to keep all of us in check,” Espinal said. “At a certain time in the game, you would find your space and since we’ve all been in a good streak scoring goals, your confidence is up and you are able to do well in those positions.”
For the record, 13 Cosmos B players have celebrated goals this season, including Alejandro Penzini, Rafa Garcia, Zaire Bartley, Joey Sanchez, Jalen Brown, John Neeskens, Reece Dalton, Chris Wingert, and Ivan Berterame.
Berterame, the most recent new member of the Cosmos B goal club in the 5-0 victory over the Elm City Express on June 23, liked the sharing the wealth philosophy.
“That’s pretty good because let’s say our forwards can’t score, we have more players that can score or break the game [open],” he said.
Cosmos B has tallied the first goal of the game in all nine regular-season matches, which has allowed the team to dictate the game and find even more goalscoring opportunities.
With the NPSL playoffs looming next week, Mendes said it was important to have players believing in themselves knowing that they can find the back of the net.
“It’s about confidence, attitude, and mentality for the whole group,” he said. “When you’re scoring in different ways, getting goals from all over the field, not just from the guys scoring, it’s confidence overall for the group and knowing and believing that we can be dangerous in different ways.
“It’s important to keep going because in these big games now that we’re heading to the playoffs, not overlooking our [next game], but when you get to the playoffs you’re going to need goals from different people. You can’t rely on one person and that’s been a big positive for us, for sure.”
Cosmos B hosts Kingston Stockade FC its final regular-season match at Commisso Stadium at Columbia University on Saturday, July 7, at 7:30 p.m.
The team will host an opponent to be determined in the North Atlantic semifinals at Hofstra Soccer Stadium on Wednesday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. The winner will advance to the conference final, scheduled for Saturday, July 14, time TBD. If Cosmos B wins its semifinal, it will host the July 14 encounter at Commisso Stadium.