Bledi Bardic had a brace in the opening 35 minutes. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Cosmos scored early and often in their 5-0 National Premier Soccer League win over the Greater Lowell Rough Diamonds at Mitchel Athletic Complex Saturday night.

Bledi Bardic finished with a brace. Ricardo Bocanegra, Sal Barone and Isaac Acuna, in his team debut also found the net for the Cosmos, who took another step toward securing home-field advantage in next month’s NPSL playoffs. The Cosmos, who kicked off a four-game homestand, also extended their regular-season winning streak to 21 games, dating back to the start of last season.

The Cosmos won the season series over the Rough Diamonds (2-7-2, 8) after recording a 7-1 victory at Lowell on May 17.

Goalkeeper Paul Blanchette recorded the clean sheet.

It didn’t take long for the hosts to get on the scoreboard as Bocanegra fired home a right-footed shot only four minutes after kickoff.

Then it became the Bardic show. He doubled the lead in the 15th minute and added his second in the 35th minute.

The goals kept on coming in the second half.

Barone volleyed one home in the 57th minute and only 16 minutes after making his Cosmos debut as a halftime substitute, Acuna scored for the raise the lead to 5-0.

The Cosmos have three regular-season games remaining this season.

They welcome Rhode Island on June 30 at 5 p.m., Brooklyn Italians on July 3 at 8 p.m. and Kingston Stockade FC on July 6 at 7 p.m.

The playoffs most likely would begin the second weekend in July.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at