Bledi Bardic: “I’m sad and all that, but at least we got the win. So, that’s important.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
By Michael Lewis
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Bledi Bardic will be examined by a team physician Thursday to determine the severity of the hamstring injury he suffered in Cosmos B’s 4-2 extratime playoff victory the previous night.
Bardic, the team’s leading scorer who scored New York’s first two goals in the North Atlantic Conference semifinal against the Elm City Express, said he was hopeful “it’s not that bad.”
It was bad enough when the Cosmos B striker went to the ground in the 47th minute of the National Premier Soccer League match at Hofstra Soccer Stadium and walked off the field.
“I think I pulled my hamstring,” Bardic said. “It was a little tight, but I think I pulled it. I couldn’t continue. I’m sad and all that, but at least we got the win. So, that’s important.”
Losing Bardic even for a week could hurt Cosmos B’s hopes and quest of winning the NPSL championship.
Bardic described what happened when he had the ball on the left flank of the Cosmos B attacking third.
“I got the ball. I was going to dribble. I crossed my left foot and that’s when I felt the pain,” he said. “I couldn’t continue.
“Let’s see what they [doctors] say. Hopefully, it’s not that bad.”
Head coach Carlos Mendes was keeping his fingers crossed that Bardic’s injury wasn’t as bad as it looked.
“We don’t know the full extent,” he said. “We have to see how bad it is. He felt his hamstring a bit. We’ll just have to re-evaluate it and see how he does.”
The 6-1, 175-lb. Bardic has been one of the outstanding NPSL performers this season, striking 12 times in 11 appearances. He has scored five goals in the past two matches.
“For me, at this point, it’s not easy, it’s not easy,” he said. “When things started going my way and the team’s way as well, having this injury, it’s something I can’t control. Even if I don’t get any more minutes, I know I gave my all over there. I’m pretty sure the guys are going to come and give 100 percent.”
Bardic, 26, has played a vital role in Cosmos B’s success this season as it finished the regular season with a 10-0-0 mark. He scored one-tenth of the team’s 40 goals prior to the playoffs.
“It’s tough,” Mendes said. if he has to miss a couple of games, it’s not good. He’s been very key for us.”
It was never more apparent in the opening 47 minutes Wednesday night. After the defending NPSL champions grabbed a surprising 1-0 lead, Bardic struck twice to lift Cosmos B into a 2-1 edge before the visitors tallied again.
“We didn’t start very well, from every part, from attack to defense, everywhere,” Bardic said. “As the game went by, we got better. At the end of the day we got the win and that’s all that matters. It was a hard game. They played good, good defense sitting back, kicking those long balls, have some fast [players] on top. We managed to win the game. That’s important.”
Bardic’s availability against the Brooklyn Italians in Saturday’s conference final at Commisso Stadium in Manhattan did not look very good Wednesday night.
Mendes felt his team’s bench will chip in if his star striker can’t play.
“We’ve had guys who have stepped in all year and have done well,” he said. “We’ll call on somebody else. Guys have gotten the job done. I think we have a deep team.”