Bledi Bardic: “I was relieved. I worked very hard. I should have had a few other goals. Sometimes you score a lot. Sometimes you go through a drought. It was important to get three points, but for me personally, it was big to get my goal.” (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)
That huge sigh of relief that you might have heard emanating from Uniondale, N.Y. Saturday night just might have come from Bledi Bardic.
That’s because Bardic snapped a personal scoreless streak in the Cosmos’ 3-1 victory over Chattanooga FC at Mitchel Athletic Complex.
The streak spanned 402 minutes over 10 games, dating back to the team’s 6-0 regular-season finale in the National Premier Soccer League, a 6-0 win over Kingston Stockade FC on July 6.
“I was relieved,” Bardic said. “I worked very hard. I should have had a few other goals. Sometimes you score a lot. Sometimes you go through a drought. It was important to get three points, but for me personally, it was big to get my goal.”
Bardic, who has scored 13 goals across all competitions, was named to the NPSL National Best XI before he entered the drought.
“It’s been a couple of tough months for me,” he said. “I always work hard, and I believe in myself. I knew the goal would come. I’ve been scoring goals and it’s just a matter of time.”
Snapping that scoreless streak could not have happened at a better time for Bardic and the Cosmos (5-0-2, 17 points), who are aiming to capture the NPSL Members Cup crown. They have a four-point lead over second-place Detroit City FC (4-0-1, 13) with three matches left in the season.
“It’s huge,” head coach Carlos Mendes said of Bardic’s goal. “He’s been working hard. We have confidence in him, we believe in him. We knew that he would come on. we told him, ‘Listen, you’re going to get more opportunities’ and he made the most of it. I’m very happy for him; sealed the game for us or put us in a more comfortable spot. A striker finding the back of the net, it’s confidence. It’s a boost for the team and we needed it.”
Bardic was a regular during the NPSL season before he wound up on the bench during the playoffs and for all seven games this Members Cup season. Never once did he complain.
“Bledi’s the type of character, the type of person who is a very professional,” Mendes said. “He’ll come in and work. Even when he’s not playing, he works for the team and his attitude and mentality is never questioned. Of course, you want to be on the field, you want to score goals, and he’s had opportunities. Day-in and day-out, he works hard. He has the right mentality and attitude. It helps in moments like this when you make a big difference.”
No doubt it did wonders for Bardic’s confidence after putting in Pedro Galvao’s feed to score the insurance goal in the 80th minute, 10 minutes after replacing Aaron Dennis.
“This helps big-time because you work a lot everyday training and to score goals during games,” he said. “This goal for me is huge now, especially with three games left. Hopefully, I can get some more goals and help the team.”
Every point and win matters at this late stage of the season.
“We have to win every game to win the championship,” Bardic said. “We have to win all these games and hopefully Detroit loses a game, or we’ve got to beat them at home. We know we can’t make mistakes if we want to win the championship.”
Bardic and the Cosmos will try to add to their win total when they play at the Milwaukee Torrent on Saturday at 7 p.m.
They return home to Mitchel to host Detroit City FC in their final home game on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 7 p.m.