It may seem crazy, but after only five games, midfielder Niko Kranjcar is already halfway through his contract with the New York Cosmos.
The 31-year-old is only signed up for the 10-game NASL Spring Season, meaning his future with the club for the more arduous 22-game Fall Season is still uncertain.
Following last night’s critical 1-0 win over the first-place Carolina RailHawks, though, Kranjcar spoke glowingly about his time with the Cosmos — and his openness to stay on under the right circumstances.
“I’ve said it from the first day, I love it here,” Kranjcar said. “We’ve got important games coming up, and I think the way it’s set up, I did sign for the Spring Season. At the end of the day, you have to get with the people here and see if they want me, or if it’s a good fit, a good combination.
“If everything is alright, yeah I love it. I must say, I love it here. I think it’s a great team, a great soccer club. Yes, we would like to have more fans come in. We hope we’re going to get them in , especially when the weather gets better. I think there’s talent on the team and I’m really enjoying my time here. My main focus is obviously on the next game, to win the next game and then hopefully the Spring Season at the end of it. And then it will be easier at the end of it to talk about my future and obviously what the club wants to do.”
Sunday night’s performance was easily Kranjcar’s most masterful of the spring. The Croatian was all over the field for the Cosmos, completing 42 of 47 of his passes, setting up teammates with three scoring chances, and narrowly missing the frame on two opportunities himself.
His performance wasn’t lost on Cosmos Head Coach Gio Savarese, who is impressed with the way Kranjcar has progressed and integrated into the squad over the first month of the season.
“It’s great that you guys point it out because he had a fantastic match,” Savarese said after the match. “He was very good on the ball. He created so many opportunities and just gave us so much fluidity in our play. He was good defensively. He was smart to know what the game called for at that particular time. He’s just a tremendous player. He’s experienced and you can see his quality. Every game, he grows more and more physically and we start seeing more and more of him.”
The Cosmos would need to free up an international roster spot if they were to bring Kranjcar back for the fall, as Brazilian center back Roversio will have returned from his knee injury by then. The club is working on securing a green card for one of their international players, so that could ensure Kranjcar’s spot.
Archived content originally from EmpireOfSoccer.com by Jake Nutting