For the third time this year, New York Cosmos B will go head to head with the Brooklyn Italians, this time with a lot at stake.
The first battle between these sides took place in May when the Italians hosted Cosmos B in an US Open Cup play-in match. The boys in green suffered their lone defeat of the season, going down 3-2 and crashing out of the tournament.
Cosmos B hosted the Italians in National Premier Soccer League play, coming out on top on that occasion. Carlos Mendes’ men earned all three points, getting past the Italians 2-1.
Both clubs earned their way into Saturday’s match with victories in North Atlantic Conference Semi-final matches.
For Cosmos B, extra time was needed to get past the reigning champions, Elm City Express. Despite going down in the 14th minute, Cosmos B responded with 2 goals, both courtesy of Bledi Bardic. The 26 year-old’s brace wasn’t enough to help the Cosmos enter the break with the lead as the Express equalized in the 40th minute.
After the second half went without a goal, the game would see an additional 30 minutes of play. It was take until the 110th minute for the game’s winning goal, this time coming from Wojtek Wojcik.
The boys in green added an additional goal before the final whistle, finding the back of the net in the 112th minute. Zaire Bartley smashed a Danny Szetela cross into the bottom right of the net, bringing the game to a 4-2 finish.
The Italians also found success in their semi-final, however their victory was much more convincing. All three of the side’s goals came from James Thristino, putting on a heroic display in an important 90 minutes.
“They’re a very good team,” said Carlos Mendes, Head Coach of New York Cosmos B. “They’re well coached. They’re organized. They’ve always given us trouble. They’re very good on the counter, so we have to be ready, have to be ready to play. It’s not going to be easier than tonight.
With the history between these two sides combined with the scoring threat each side provides in Bledi Bardic and James Thristino means fans are in for a treat on Saturday.
With a victory in this North Atlantic Conference Final, the winning side will head to the Northeast Region Semi-final on Wednesday.