Bledi Bardic Sends The Cosmos Through To The Next Round Of The Open Cup With Dramatic Winner

It was the first goal in 2019 for last year's leading scorer
May 9, 2019

Bledi Bardic could not have planned it any better or accomplish it any more dramatically.
After going scoreless in his first two matches of the National Premier Soccer League season, the New York Cosmos striker did what he does best.
Bardic scored deep into stoppage time to lift the Cosmos to a 2-1 triumph over Black Rock FC in the opening round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup at Rocco B. Commisso Soccer Stadium on Wednesday night.
It turned out to be the first time the Cosmos won an Open Cup game since 2016. They were eliminated in the first round in 2017 and by the Brooklyn Italians last year.
“It was very important because the last few years we lost the first game,” Bardic said. “It was an important game for us to go through. Now, we focus on Saturday and the NPSL and the U.S. Open Cup Tuesday.”
The Cosmos host Boston City FC at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y., on Saturday at 7 p.m. before taking on Hartford Athletic (USL Championship) in the second round of the Open Cup in Hartford, Conn., on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Six minutes into stoppage time, left back Ansi Agolli swung a corner kick into the box. Bardic, who replaced the Cosmos’ first-half goalscorer, Aaron Dennis, in the 63rd minute, headed the ball past goalkeeper Leland Gazo at the far-left post.
“It was a great ball from Ansi,” Bardic said. “We needed that goal bad. The ball just came to me and I just headed it in. I’m happy to score.”
Bardic bolted toward the 5 Points supporters section with his shirt in his fist.
“It was good,” he said. “The fans, no matter what game there is, they’re here. I love the fans. The love they have for us, it’s incredible.”

The Cosmos will now play another day in a competition that has produced some magic moments for the team. In 2014, they eliminated the New York Red Bulls (Major League Soccer) in the Open Cup. In 2015 and 2016, the Cosmos ousted New York City FC, also an MLS team, with big wins.
“It’s huge, it’s huge,” he said. “When you go through these moments, your belief goes down a little bit. It was important to get this goal. I think it’s the right time.”
The goal ended any frustration that Bardic experienced during league play. He led the Cosmos in goalscoring last year with a dozen in 11 matches before a hamstring injury ended his season in the playoffs.
“That’s something that’s hard as a forward,” he said.  “You go through those moments. You have to be patient. The goals are going to come. You’ve got to work hard and when the goal comes, the goal comes. I knew the goals was going to come. but it was important for me to get the goal. The most important was to win. I don’t care whoever scored the goals, as long as we go through.”
Cosmos head coach Carlos Mendes was happy for his striker.
“All strikers, they need to get a goal, they need to be in front of the net,” he said. “We kept saying that. He was putting himself in good spots, he was getting opportunities, which is most important, and that the goal would come. Hopefully, that’s now a confidence builder and that he keeps going from here. strikers, when they find the back of the net, it’s a mentality. The confidence grows. We have full confidence that Bledi’s going to be himself and he’s going to get a lot of goals for us. I’m happy he did because he has been working hard.”

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