By Daniel Cermak/NPSL.com
The NPSL runner-up kicks off the first weekend of NPSL Members Cup play with a visit to
Tennessee to take on Chattanooga FC.
“I’m really excited, it’s something that we’ve been looking forward to, working towards, it’s a
good feeling, to have a new season coming up,” Chattanooga FC captain Juan Hernandez said.
“It’s a step forward for the club and what the club wants to achieve.”
“It’s a new format, teams we haven’t played in the past, but no matter what it’s always an honor
to represent the New York Cosmos,” New York Cosmos B midfielder Junior Burgos said. “Our
goal is to make some history with this club, and that’s what I’m looking forward to the most with
New York Cosmos B comes into the NPSL Members Cup following an incredible NPSL season
over the summer that saw them fall just short in the NPSL National Championship. They
registered a 13-0-1 regular season record and a 17-2-1 record across all competitions, including
the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and the NPSL playoffs.
Bledi Bardic has been the leading talisman on a talented Cosmos roster, notching 10 goals during
the 2019 NPSL season, with goalkeeper Paul Blanchette holding things down on the other end of
the pitch, sporting a 0.41 GAA for the regular season, including five clean sheets as a starter.
Burgos brings a wealth of experience to the Cosmos. The midfielder has 20 caps for the El
Salvador National Team, was drafted by Toronto FC, and has also spent time with the Atlanta
Silverbacks, Tampa Bay Rowdies, and El Salvadoran side FAS. This year Burgos was a key cog
in the Cosmos’ attack, scoring six goals in the NPSL regular season and netting an additional
pair in the playoffs.
Burgos is focused on using his experience and his hustle to help his team’s attack and bring
home some silverware.
“I’m kind of a double-pivot, number 8, box-to-box midfielder, trying to connect our back line
and our front line,” Burgos said. “Personally, my goal is to be the best player I can be for the
team, try to inject a positive attitude, make my teammates better, and then for the club and for
me, I don’t want to end the year without a trophy, so that’s what I’m working towards.”
Chattanooga FC comes into the Saturday night match-up following a 7-1-2 NPSL regular season
and a South Region semifinal berth where they also fell to eventual champions Miami FC. CFC
were led in goals by Felipe Oliveira with 10 across all competitions and six in NPSL play,
including the playoffs. Hernandez and Caleb Cole led the team in assists across all competitions
with six, with all of Cole’s coming in NPSL play, while Hernandez recorded four. Phil D’Amico
held things down between the posts, recording a .92 GAA over 13 total games.
Hernandez calls himself a creative midfielder, focusing on creating for his teammates as opposed
to going for goal himself. The numbers back it up with Hernandez recording six assists and three
“I’m more creative, I like to play on the ball, and create goal scoring opportunities,” Hernandez
said. “I really like to get assists, sometimes even more than goals. My personal goal is the same
as the team goal: winning, and winning the right way, playing good soccer and having good
chemistry with the team. I want to go out and win it, and I want to play a big part of that if
possible, but the main focus is on winning.”
Both players know that it will take a great team performance for their respective sides to be
victorious, but both are up to the challenge.
For Burgos and the Cosmos, maintaining their high level of play is going to be the key. “We
have to stick to our identity that we’ve had all year,” Burgos said. “We’ve only lost two games
all year and I think Saturday will be another chance to go out there and make a statement.”
For Hernandez and Chattanooga FC, he knows it’s going to take a full team and staff effort.
“We have to get a good performance from everybody,” Hernandez said. “We’ve seen it already
they’re a very good team, they’ve been in the national championship. It’s going to take effort,
focus and then doing what the coaches are telling us.”
With two NPSL heavyweights going at it, Saturday’s NPSL Members Cup opener between
Chattanooga FC and New York Cosmos B is a must-watch matchup.
Photo Credit: Matthew Levine/New York Cosmos, Derek Daniel, Phil Thatch, and Ray Soldano