Cosmos Corner: It’s Not All About The U.S. Open Cup


Staff Writer

Despite what a majority of fans may think, the New York Cosmos play in the NASL — US Soccer’s second division.

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The team’s ideology and history was something that they felt was better preserved in the NASL and, in all actuality, they are probably right. The Cosmos were known as big spenders with a flashy style and tons success under that umbrella. They already have the spending and championships locked down.

However, a large portion of the fanbase isn’t interested in dominating the NASL like the old days. Instead their sights are set on the US Open Cup and – potentially – the CONCACAF Champions League. Aside from the fact that team still needs to acquire a first-division level of depth to progress deep into the Open Cup, there is one point that fails to be considered:

What is the benefit of winning the Open Cup?

In all honesty there isn’t much. DC United, last year’s winner, received a sad $250,000 for their effort and a spot in the Champions League. The competition is not easily accessible to the average sports audiences, being available on GolTV only a year ago.

The Champions League itself isn’t exactly as prestigious as it may appear, either. The format is in constant flux, provides no real monetary advantage and most games end up on the secondary, subscription only, Fox Sports Channels. So really, the only thing the competition will do is pull focus away from the league fixtures that provide the most exposure. Even the lauded FIFA Club World Cup is seen as a secondary trophy that, for many teams, is a distraction more so than a true competition.

The obvious argument I hear in favor of such competitions is the success that it has in Europe. Unfortunately, this isn’t Europe and the game doesn’t have as rich of a professional history. Most teams in North America (outside of Liga MX and MLS) have limited fan bases and even more limiting ways to watch games. Measuring up to MLS? What does that gain?

Truthfully, the best way for the Cosmos to gain a firmer grasp on the American market is by doing what they did in the 70’s and elevate the league with their own success. Hopefully their influence can get One World Sports onto more cable providers or maybe SNY will cover more than just Cosmos home games.

Bottom line? No Cup is more important than league play. Ask Wigan, who won the FA Cup and find themselves floundering in the Championship mid-table, how important Cup wins are.

At the end of the day, the Cosmos are NASL Soccer Bowl Champions. That should be the main goal every year.

  • Anthony

    Winning cups and winning leagues breeds a perception of success. USOC and CCL are what are available so makes sense to do well in those. Does anyone truly think the cosmos are in any threat of not doing well in nasl league if they focus more on doing well in cup comps against teams many believe are better. I don’t think so

  • Sao Paulo Tricolors

    BS. If the Cosmos win or even do well in these cups more attention will be placed on NASL. Its a clear shot to the top by a entrance into the CCL. Which needs more of a following. MLS still can’t beat mid table Mexican teams. Hopefully this year we can break into the World Club Competition, maybe US fans might have a little more pride or at least something other than some superficial domestic league with no relegation or promotion and over the hill Europe and South American players come to die.

  • I agree for the most part that the League is the goal, but what Open Cup does is challenge the model that is MLS & that you don’t need to be in closed system MLS to be a successful team in America.

  • Sorry man but the ask Wigan argument is tired and old, the FA Cup is the only major trophy they have ever won! saying the fans don’t care about it is blasphemy, is staying in the Prem worth more money? of course but to the fans the Cup still matters, and the FA cup is the highest level competition that Wigan can hope to win. Right nw the USOC is the highest level competition that the Cosmos can hope to win, they already won the league, time to have a go at the cup.

    • Also winning the Open Cup is worth more money than winning NASL, hopefully one day that changes but right now thats the way it is. Asking fans not to be romantic about the cup is an impossible task. Do i still wanna win the League? of course, but once we win the triple (Spring,Fall,Bowl) how can we push ourselves higher and farther?

  • Chris

    Winning leagues is the stepping stone to going after the true prizes in soccer and thats international trophies. You play to win ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that you partake in. Doing anything less is an insult to your fans.

    Playing only for your local league means that you run scared and really dont have the “cojones” to put your prestige at stake. THOSE THAT PUT THEIR PRESTIGE AT STAKE ARE WINNERS, everyone else plays for second place.

  • Andy


  • Josiah

    North American clubs don’t have the luxury of claiming that a trophy is not important or significant. all clubs goal should be getting as many trophies at they can. the US Open Cup by default is more prestigious than any lower division trophy, period. foolish to claim otherwise.

    and i’m getting kinda tired of media outlets saying that such and such competition isn’t glamorous or prestigious enough. it’s your job to call attention to it and make it more prestigious.

    • Anthony J.

      The media’s job is to do nothing more than to provide news or opinion depending on the outlet. It is not their responsibility to promote any competition. It is US Soccer’s job to raise awareness and prove that the competition is prestigious. At the moment the tournament is little more than a secondary competition that receives little coverage from major sports media outlets.

      • Josiah

        you’re kidding yourself if you think that the tournament is just going to take off by itself with no media coverage. they don’t even show it on TV. how is the average fan going to even know it exists? why would they even want to watch it when every time it gets mentioned in the media it keeps getting called secondary? and the point of this particular article, that the tournament isn’t a big deal to the Cosmos is just laughable. no one is taking the Cosmos seriously if all they can win is the Soccer Bowl every year. beat a few MLS teams in legit competition, maybe we’ll take a little notice. win the whole thing? now we’re really taking notice. that goes for any NASL or USL Pro team.

  • thumbs

    I disagree with this article 100%, if The Cosmos can beat the Red Bulls, and also beat two other MLS teams that will raise the awareness of the average Tri State sport fan period, which in turn will raise the awareness of the Open Cup. I can honestly see WFAN talking soccer, if and when Red Bulls vs Cosmos rivalry really takes off. It will be equal to Devils , Rangers. Also with the addition of NYFC , the Cosmos have a ton to gain.My God father used to take me to see The Cosmos as a kid , and As a Red Bull season ticket holder, I can’t wait to see if The Cosmos draw a game in Jersey !!
    So yes soccer can become relevant here again, and an important piece of that puzzle is a successful Cosmos run.