Paul Blanchette: “The wealth of experience in our backline is unsurpassed. “We have several people with European experience, champions [League] Experience, USL experience. If that doesn’t give you confidence I don’t know what it does. “(Photo courtesy of Kosmos)
NEW YORK – The Cosmos is about to take the North Atlantic Conference crown and home advantage for the National Premier Soccer League playoffs.
If they beat Rhode Island Red FC at 5pm on Sunday at the Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, the Cosmos (11-0-0, 33 points) will be just one point away from that reality.
A big reason for the Kosmos’ success in the NPSL was its defense.
Undoubtedly, his attack will be well known behind his 39 goals, but it has to be noted that the Kosmos Defense have only conceded four goals this season.
Regardless of who eliminated head coach Carlos Mendes in the last four or in goal, there was quality.
“They make my job easy,” said Paul Blanchette, one of three goalkeepers who have benefited from the defense’s superior performance. “They make the job of a goalkeeper easy.”
Blanchette, who shared the goalkeeping position with Santiago Castano and Jesse Corke, felt that this was the backline’s experience. For example, the Albanian national team captain Ansi Agolli played in the UEFA Champions League. There is no better experience than the best club competition in the world.
“The experience of our backline is second to none,” said Blanchette. “We have several people with European experience, Champions experience and USL experience. If that doesn’t give you confidence I don’t know what it does. “
Due to several consecutive weekend games, Mendes had to change his starting XI. Emmanuele Sembroni, Matt Lewis, Garret Halfhill and Armando Guarnera have filled the center-backs, while Kevin Venegas, Pedro Galvao, Dominick Falanga, David Diosa and Agolli have shared the full-backs.
“It’s not easy,” said Mendes. “The schedule, the number of games and the minutes the boys played were difficult. “The most impressive thing is the guys who intervened. The mentality was excellent. We have people who understand what we are looking for and play for the team. The boys were asked to play different roles, be it in the middle of the field, outside, three in the back, four in the back. So you did an excellent job. “
It’s not easy to establish a solid means of communication, but Blanchette has done it.
“It’s a relationship we’ve been building day after day since the season started on March 1st,” he said. “It’s not like we didn’t play together. We are all good friends. We all get along. We all know how to play properly and how we want to play. It’s never a problem. “
While Blanchette and Company didn’t have to take the ball out of the net much this season, getting a shutout wasn’t their main priority.
“As long as you win, a goal is just a bonus,” he said. “It’s only about three points and about being at the top of the table at the end of the year.”
While fans may not have noticed, the Cosmos backline has come a long way since preseason.
“Our distance, our organization, our playing ability, our communication, almost everything in the months we were here,” said Blanchette. “The relationships between us have grown so much. It makes work easier when we get to the same page that we are now. “
When asked what impressed him about this team, Blanchette replied: “It’s not easy to win against teams when you have to play them three or two times, regardless of the level. It is not easy. There were difficult places to play and we found ways to get results. It’s impressive and we will keep doing what we do. “
Blanchette has been guarding the gate a lot lately.
“It’s always something you have to work really hard for,” he said. “We have three goalkeepers who can start any game. To make it really difficult. So you never know Nothing is given to you. “
Maybe not, but Mendes liked what he saw of Blanchette.
“He did well,” he said. “I have faith in him. He’s a guard we knew who was keen. Our goalkeepers’ situation was very good. We have confidence in all of our goalkeepers and in everyone who is on the net. “
After the game on Sunday, the Cosmos has two more regular season games at Mitchel this season.
They welcome the Brooklyn Italians on July 3rd at 8pm and Kingston Stockade FC on July 6th at 7pm
The playoffs would most likely begin the second weekend in July.