Konrad Plewa reflects on debut season with Cosmos, looks ahead to Fall Championship

Published Sep 21, 2020

Konrad Plewa’s stint with the Real Salt Lake organization ended in style last summer, as he hoisted the USL Cup as a part of the Real Monarchs – his second piece of silverware in five tries in the USL Championship. However, the twenty-eight-year-old decided it was time for a new challenge – and time to come home.

“Having been away for the last couple of years, the opportunity to sign with the Cosmos came up,” said Plewa. “It's something that's crossed my mind in the past - being a local team for me and where I'm from. Once my contract finished up in Salt Lake City, there were a couple of places on the table as possibilities but the prospect of coming home able to play close to home was something that I valued.”

Plewa’s debut season in New York, of course, has been anything but typical. Despite the circumstances, however, the veteran centerback says the culture in the Cosmos locker room, as well as the people in it, have made the year go by much more smoothly.

“Of the six years that I've been playing, this has certainly been the strangest,” said Plewa with a laugh. “Having a guy like Danny, who I've known for a while has been a big help – we do the Jersey commute every morning together, and that makes things a lot easier. All the guys have been phenomenal since I’ve been here. This locker room is full of awesome teammates who have become awesome friends. These are all guys you can count on.”

Preparations for the incoming NISA Fall Championship in Detroit have come with reflection on the preseason – and regular season – that have come and gone. After two draws in the NISA Independent Cup, the Cosmos won only one of their four regular season matches. For Plewa, the squad is ready to make things right in Michigan.

“[T]he season hasn't turned out maybe how we expected. We’re hungry, though. We're all expecting a lot more of ourselves, and I know the fans are expecting a lot more of us. We are excited and confident about going into this tournament and hopefully we're able to deliver like we've been expected to.”

Plewa has caught on well in his debut season with the Cosmos – starting all but one of the club’s matches this calendar year. Experienced in a three back system from his time in Salt Lake City, Plewa additionally credits the rest of his defensive core for is early success in 2020.

“Whether it’s Matty, Armando, or CJ – they’re all great guys,” said Plewa. “Anytime, as a defender in the center, it’s important that you have other centerbacks that are pushing you and you can push to be better not only as individuals, but as a unit together. I feel like we have that, and we have that with the rest of the defensive line with Ansi, Pedro, and Lubahn.

Now, the Cosmos will have Chattanooga FC, Cal United Strikers, and Los Angeles Force as opponents as they look to top Group B at Keyworth Stadium. The Cosmos find only one rematch in the Midwest and aim to avenge a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Chattanooga FC on September 12. For Plewa, the team can take a lot of positives from their regular season – and identified one key aspect that needs to be nailed down.

“I know it might not feel like it or seem like it, but we feel that we’ve had better performances of late.” said Plewa. “However, we’re lacking in terms of having complete performances. I think that's been more of a theme lately again, although I think it's tough to really judge when games are once every three weeks. We do a good job of controlling games, but I think there's a little bit of a lack of a final product. Once we have that game where one, two chances really click for us I think we’ll be dangerous.”

With a regular season that’s seen an irregular schedule in an irregular year for clubs all across the league, Plewa thinks this fall’s World Cup-style tournament may be just what the Cosmos need to gain momentum and consistency.

“We hope so,” said Plewa. “Everyone’s on the same format, same schedule, same place - so I don't think there's any anymore excuses to be made. It’s simple - we’ve got to roll up our sleeves and get the job done.”

The Cosmos begin their 2020 NISA Fall Championship campaign on Tuesday, September 22nd against Cal United Strikers. The match is slated for a 5pm EST kickoff and can found on beIN SPORTS XTRA - available in the U.S. and Canada on The Roku Channel, Samsung TV Plus (1163), and XUMO TV and app (746), and additionally in the U.S. on Pluto TV, Redbox, and Tivo.