Cosmos Corner: To survive, New York must meet high expectations

IMAGE, TONY LEWIS, NEW YORK COSMOS FACEBOOK

BY ANTHONY J. MERCED
Staff Writer

COMMENTARY |
Is it fair to say that the Cosmos should win the 2013 NASL Soccer Bowl Championship? Is it fair to place a championship expectation on a team that only just returned to the league after nearly thirty years of dormancy?

The answer is a simple and resounding yes! And if the Cosmos hope to succeed in this market, they have to accept this as fact.

New York sports fans are demanding. They don’t like to lose and their interest wanes the longer you go without success. That doesn’t make New York fans fickle – there are just too many other options to get your sports fix in this city. Eleven thousand fans, a better crowd size than most Chivas USA games, showed up to watch the beginning of the Cosmos road to glory on August 3rd. They were excited and ready to root for a team that experienced meteoric success in the late seventies and early eighties. And while it hasn’t been a complete let down, the team has not produced the way the hype machine has been billed to deliver.

The Cosmos are a new team. They’ve only played five professional matches and have a rookie head coach. However, they have advantages that no other NASL team has. Money and brand recognition to lure players from around the world are just two reasons for the high expectations surrounding this team. And lets be honest; that alone means the New York Cosmos should win the Soccer Bowl Championship. That might sound crazy for a team that hasn’t played a full season since 1984, but the bar hasn’t been set extremely high in this league.

Before the team ever took the field, they were able to lure former European Champion Marco Senna and former MLS veterans Carlos Mendes and Hunter Freeman to go along with the young talent pooled together from around the world.

This was supposed to be a team that played the beautiful game with entertainment and flash. Instead, they have been methodical, overly patient to a fault and unimaginative in the final third. Giovanni Savarese, a first year head coach who also played in New York for the Metrostars much like Red Bulls manager Mike Petke, has seemingly been hesitant to place his foot on the gas of this second tier Ferrari he’s been given.

The Cosmos of the seventies and eighties were fantastic to watch because of how they played. Simply put, they scored goals or at least had no problem providing offensive displays. The 2013 Cosmos are not that at all. They are defensive minded, but in a league with only fourteen games, a bold mentality is what is necessary to get results.

The Cosmos can’t fail as long as they are entertaining. At the moment, they are hard to watch. Hopefully this will change but there isn’t much time to solidify the minds of New York soccer fans.

We are two years away from NYCFC, a team that will try to be more centrally located than the current clubs in the area and one that will have the media dollars behind it to carve out a place in the niche market that is New York soccer. Red Bull New York could potentially be contenders for this year’s MLS Cup, finally galvanizing a fan base that has long been tortured.

The Cosmos need to be aware of this and need to strike while the iron is hot. They are relevant at the moment but the longer they go without success, the more likely that the local sports community will see them as a second tier team. Attendance will drop and television won’t come knocking.

That is something that Cosmos fans will not be happy about.

  • Totally agree, but this Half season to me is a weeding out process.If they win the Soccer Bowl it will be a bonus. Next season, with Open Cup will be crucial to the teams success. The roster will look really different next year especially if when the Stadium gets the Green Light. After all these years a little patience won’t kill Cosmos fans.

    • Anthony M.

      The US Open Cup is a very tough hill to climb if they can’t dominate the NASL. Team will need to spend serious dollars to create a team that can beat the likes of previous winners like Sporting KC or Seattle.

  • AndyPin

    Patience young Jedi – The Force is with us…Good things will come!

  • Jimmy Pagani

    Defensive team? I’m not at all agree. I think that has been a problem. By being offensive has been very vulnerable to counter-attack