Empire XI: Cosmos’ Future is in Brooklyn

Brooklyn Bridge

by CHRISTIAN ARAOS
Staff Writer

For the moment, there are two professional sports teams located on a one-mile stretch of Hempstead Turnpike spanning Uniondale and Hempstead, New York. Next fall, that figure will drop to one with the New York Islanders moving to Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

While that gives the New York Cosmos all of Hempstead Turnpike, like the Islanders, their future will also be in Kings County.

The Cosmos announced that they will host the Ottawa Fury on May 2 at MCU Park, the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones. While officials from both the Cosmos and Cyclones stated that this would be a one-off, common sense dictates that teams do not hold regular season games at different home locations just for the sake of it.

For example, last season the San Jose Earthquakes played one game at both Levi’s Stadium and Stanford Stadium, totaling a combined attendance of 98,771. That figure is nearly 64% of the total attendance from the 14 other games played at Buck Shaw Stadium, which sold out 12 times in 2014.

While the Earthquakes’ need for a solid supplement to their limited attendance revenue drove them to play games at larger stadiums, the Cosmos, by opting to play in a smaller venue than Shuart Stadium, have a different need to address. If the team will cling onto their dreams of grandeur and stadiums for the long term, they need to first address short term issues such as securing itself a consistent reason to pay attention to them. They need only look across Hempstead Turnpike at the Islanders to see just how fleeting attention can be when you are the smaller team that plays in the suburbs.

The Cosmos’ predicament worsens when you add the lack of mainstream coverage American soccer has in the area with the discrepancy in exposure that exists between MLS and the NASL. Besides from a column written by their public address announcer on WFAN’s website, the Cosmos do not get regularly covered by the general media. While their p.r. department has fought the good fight landing players occasional spots on local news, their successes getting on the C-block are minimized by the fact that the audience they seek cannot and will not regularly drive to Long Island to see a game.

Eighteen-to-thirty-six-year-old men and women are less likely to own cars and more likely to live in cities. Therein lies the motive for the Cosmos to play in Brooklyn. It also explains why it has become imperative for new MLS teams to play inside their city’s limits, even if the circumstances are less than ideal. The attendance plights of the LA Galaxy, Chivas USA and the Chicago Fire (all well below the league average of 90.8% capacity last season) all provide evidence that geography as opposed to team success or player prominence is the most critical element in gaining a consistent attendance stream. It also helps having the new taxbase’s favorite sport be played in their backyard.

As Cosmos COO Erik Stover told Capital New York’s Howard Megdal, the team has a year-to-year agreement with Hofstra University to use Shuart Stadium, meaning that they can play all its games in Brooklyn beginning 2016. If the one game attendance at MCU Park is closer to 100% capacity than the average attendance of all the games to take place at Shuart Stadium this season, the Cosmos have to seriously consider moving to Brooklyn. New York City FC’s decision to play at Yankee Stadium may look unappealing, but 11,000-plus season tickets sold speak for itself.

The soccer fans are in the city and they cannot afford to drive to Hempstead – but they can afford to take the D train.

Empire XI

1. CONCACAF is trying really hard to be taken seriously in light of being found to be insanely inept and corrupt its recent history. The mud bowl that was the pitch at Montego Bay, Jamaica for the final stage of its U20 Championship is therefore a reminder that some things never change.

2. Although he left the US’ last game with an injury, Emerson Hyndman is establishing himself as one of the more encouraging prospects in the American player pool. He is the 18-year-old grandson of a coach honing his craft at Championship-side Fulham (Disclosure: I am a Fulham fan), not too dissimilar to an 18-year-old Michael Bradley establishing himself in his first full season with Heerenveen in 2006-07. Of course, we would all really get to know Bradley that summer at the U20 World Cup in Canada. I wonder if that will be the case again with Hyndman in New Zealand.

3. While we are on the subject of players who will likely be in New Zealand this summer, Matt Miazga is apparently spending the little time in between the CONCACAF Championship and the start of training camp with the New York Red Bulls in Qatar to train with Red Bull Leipzig who will not resume their season until February 6. Miazga has a legitimate shot at becoming a starter in New York at the perfect time in his career ahead of the U20s. If he impresses in his time in Qatar, he may have to make a very critical choice between maybe starting for a top-half team in the 2. Bundesliga or maybe starting for a team in MLS.

4. The problem for the Red Bulls in this case with Miazga is that this should not even be happening. The preseason is the perfect time for the Red Bulls to lay low a little bit and let the uproar over the firing of Mike Petke simmer down. A Red Bull leaving right as he was about to emerge as first teamer is a familiarly painful blow for Red Bull fans. Letting a Red Bull leave New York to join another club under the same banner adds salt to the wound.

5. If and when New York City FC confirm the signings of Adam Nemec and Javier Calle, their roster will be at 25, including their two Superdraft picks and Frank Lampard. NYCFC will be in a very interesting situation regarding the makeup of their roster considering the uncertainty of roster sizes in the upcoming CBA and their relationship with Manchester City. They still need help in defensive midfield and left back but could be unable to address those needs if roster sizes are cut down — which seems to be on the agenda of MLS and the owners.

6. Nemec is not a prolific striker, but he is a 6’3″ target man that holds up play, allowing for more skilled attacking players to operate off of him. It works for the Slovakian National Team for whom he is their starting center forward. Slovakia has a perfect record of 12 points through four games in Euro Qualifying including a win against Spain.

7. The New England Revolution should be a contender in the Eastern Conference, but they may be holding themselves back by choosing to move Andrew Farrell to centerback as a replacement for A.J. Soares, who will join Hellas Verona. While Farrell has experience at centerback with the Revolution and dating back to his days with the University of Louisville, his progression at right back is something that should be allowed to continue, unimpeded by a position change.

8. A sidebar to Sebastian Giovinco’s decision to join Toronto FC will be his involvement with the Italian National Team. Head Coach Antonio Conte provided a pragmatic endorsement of Giovinco’s decision and added that he will continue to consider Giovinco for selection. There is no shame in professional soccer players taking the money if it is presented to them. Good on Conte for acknowledging that truth, even if the source of the money is slightly unfamiliar.

9. If Giovinco remains in the fold for the Azzurri, it could make him one of the best signings ever made by an MLS team. If MLS wants to fulfill its goals for the next decade, it needs more internationals from the upper echelon nations competing in major tournaments. This is a two-way street. It is clear that there are owners in MLS who can pay to have these players join the league but the player interest is still not completely there because of that perceived drop in skill level. Having a player in his prime play for Italy at a European Championship while in MLS would help boost player interest and raise the overall skill level of the league.

10. Speaking of the league’s future, I will be chatting with Mike Jarosi, a licensed agent by both USSF and FIFA and blogger at Short Corners, about the CBA negotiations for a piece we’ll run here in the near future. If there is any questions you have for him, leave it in the comments.

11. Stay safe in the blizzard. Watch Juan Roman Riquelme videos in tribute to his retirement and pair it with hot chocolate at home. A relaxing way to appreciate the detached genius that was Riquelme.

  • Smith

    In a rare moment, I agree with you 100 percent here

  • Sammy the Red Bull

    I still don’t get the end game for the Cosmos. There has to be more of a goal than just continuously hemorrhaging money in the NASL. I would have love to have seen them in MLS but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.

  • PJI

    weird that people still read Araos articles

  • Oculus

    All the jokes about NYCFC playing in a baseball stadium, karma is very real.

    • Smith

      Well. No one said a baseball stadium was good, just that Brooklyn was.

  • Ever consider maybe shuart wasnt available that weekend, and thats why theyre playing in bklyn?

    • Anthony M.

      So what you’re trying to say is that the Cosmos can sign Raul but not solidify a stadium for a full year? Who’s being a bit naive? They’re hoping this goes well to lock in a new and better location. If it doesn’t work they’ll move on.

      • Well for someone who referred to “the Mayor of Nassau County” in an article, I wouldn’t call people “naive” Merced.

        The truth is the Cosmos are very frustrated about Hofstra, but it’s the best we can do. It sucks that a great soccer team with great players and great traditions can get displaced by college lacrosse, but it’s the truth. We don’t have first dibs on Shuart.

        Your entire opinion is based on a non-existent premise that you invented in your sleep. Next time you write a piece, think about if you are adding any value. If not, and I cannot remember a single post where you have, then don’t bother. You are merely taking up space on the interwebs.

        • Anthony M.

          So your response is to insult me and admit that the Cosmos can’t do any better than Hofstra? They are more than likely (I haven’t confirmed it although it seems that Jay metiong that Lacrosse game will be happening at Hofstra) not able to play at Hofstra on that day. However, playing in Brooklyn is strategic. If it works out well a New York location will prove whether or not the team can draw. Hofstra is a detriment to them at the moment but playing at MCU Park is more than just a simple rescheduling.

          • If a direct quote from you is an insult to you, perhaps the problem is not me but you. You have no idea what you’re talking about. Yes, it is possible to have Raul on your team and not have first priority at your crap college stadium where you are forced to play until you can build your own stadium. That you find that to be unbelievable is, well, unbelievable.

            Christian wrote something that has no substance. He’s surmising something here that’s non-existent. We may yet end up permanently in NYC, maybe LI, or hopefully if we get Belmont, both. The fact that the Colonial conference finals might be hosted at our stadium on a game day for us, so we have to move the game somewhere else has nothing to do with any of that. Go ask the Mayor of Nassau County.

  • Sam U El

    The best part of this article is the picture.

  • Jay

    Yes Anthony M. (writer for this site) the cosmos can sign Raul, but they cannot make sure that Hofstra Lacrosse doesn’t host the CAA Lacrosse final which to my understanding would be this same date. I’m very excited for this match but I don’t think the Cosmos are looking at Coney Island Fulltime unless they are able to make renovations that make it more soccer specific.

    • Anthony M.

      I would think that if MCU Park is legitimately thinking about doing (American) football games regularly that the idea of the Cosmos playing there shouldn’t be too far of a stretch. It will all depend on the attendance, hopefully high, and how the team feels playing on a baseball field. That has its own set of issues that I’m sure NYCFC will find out about.

  • Larry’s A Turd

    Why not? They can be ignored in Brooklyn just as easily as Hempstead.
    They should just fold that mess and bury the corpse.

  • Christian

    Anthony you have no idea what you are talking about

  • I’ve seen the Cosmos more on New York news than I have the Red Bulls. And I haven’t seen ANYTHING on NYCFC. Which, to be honest isn’t saying much, but it is saying something.

    • Larry’s A Turd

      Bull ****. the f.cosmos don’t get any media coverage in NYC