Bledi Bardic enjoyed a magical and memorial opening half hour for the Cosmos. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
QUEENS, N.Y. — When he is running at all cylinders, Bledi Bardic can be one of the most imposing strikers in all of the National Premier Soccer League.
He certainly was Saturday night.
Scoring early and often, Bardic recorded a hat-trick in the opening 30 minutes to power the New York Cosmos to a 4-1 victory over the Brooklyn Italians in a National Premier Soccer League match at the Metropolitan Oval.
The triumph extended the Cosmos’ regular-season winning streak to a club-record 18 games, dating back to the first game of the 2018 NPSL season.
The Cosmos (8-0-0, 24 points) lead the North Atlantic Conference and the NPSL power rankings while the second-place Italians (5-1-1, 16) suffered their first defeat of the season.
Bardic, who has scored six NPSL goals and eight across all competitions, recorded his first three-goal game for the Cosmos. He also tallied the game-winner in the 2-0 road win over the New York Athletic Club last Sunday.
The Cosmos dominated a team that it had nothing but close encounters against in 2018.
The 27-year-old Bardic, who has been getting into scoring form lately, connected with the game only four minutes old to give the Cosmos a 1-0 edge.
His strike partner Aly Hassan doubled the score in the 14th minute.
Bardic was far from finished, lifting the Cosmos to a 3-0 advantage in the 17th minute before adding Goal No. 3 in the 30th minute.
With the Cosmos enjoying a four-goal lead, the Italians finally solved goalkeeper Paul Blanchette in the 87th minute.
The Cosmos will continue their four-game road swing at Boston City FC on Saturday, June 15 and then at the Rhode Island Reds FC on Sunday, June 16.
They return to Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. to start a four-game homestand against the Greater Lowell Rough Diamonds on Sunday, June 23 at 8 p.m.