Empire XI: On New York Soccer and the Big Questions for 2015



We found out a little bit about each of the three New York teams last week as enterprises more than anything relating to the on-field product or when it should appear on a pitch near you.

While the hot take with New York City FC will always be that it is Manchester City’s farm team, it is a perspective that is not totally wrong. If only American sportswriters would not follow the most frequented path when opining on what the club’s place in the City Football Group. NYCFC or Melbourne City are not going to be inherently subservient to Manchester City because American and Australian soccer are both markets with great potential for growth and CFG got in on the ground floor. Same logic applies to Red Bull, Sela Sports and all the European clubs establishing offices in the United States.

Unfortunately for Americans and Australians, the money is in Europe and in the Champions League so they get top priority — for the time being.

The goal is for there to be enough money in America and Australia to make the disparity less evident and to give both NYCFC and Melbourne City enough clout to protect its interests. It would be counter-intuitive for CFG to purposely stunt the growth of those two clubs in growing environments. This is what makes the “farm team” argument absurd. The growth potential in both countries is so high that attempting to check both teams by having them solely serve Manchester City is leaving money on the table but since no one from CFG have directly addressed this criticism, it still exists.

The Red Bulls’ impatience is evident. As Grant Wahl reported last year, Red Bull GmBH are looking to tighten spending on its soccer clubs because of declining revenues on the energy drink. When the money becomes more finite, the politics increase as everyone works to protect their status within the club. It has to be noted that the dominoes starting following when Andy Roxbaugh’s contract was not renewed, allowing for Ali Curtis to step in and clean out the office. The decision to give a new hire the right to clear out the old staff is a difficult one for upper brass to make, but the brass chose the more nuclear option rather than opting to attempt to blend old ideas and new.

Obviously, the success of this choice remains to be seen, but to wipe the slate clean after the most successful era in club history can be described lightly as impatient and more accurately as desperate.

The Cosmos are not desperate for success, but they are desperate for attention as seen by their well-timed release announcing the re-signing of their entire coaching staff, who are apparently all united in their vision for the club. Attention is a powerful thing for the Cosmos right now considering their stalled attempts at securing a stadium and long-term stability. They need as many reasons as possible to get the local populace aware of their existence.

Their two main plays are also pretty clear: sign iconic players and center marketing efforts around them or troll the establishment. The first play is an attempt to get fans into American soccer by signing players that are particularly recognizable by members of local ethnic communities (Andres Flores) or by signing players everyone knows from Europe (Raul). The second play is to capitalize on the frustrations of Red Bull and NYCFC fans.

How successful either play can be is contingent upon factors beyond the Cosmos’ control, a troubling position for the club.

Now, lets move on to the XI:

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  • Anthony

    Christian, you should be banned from ever even talking about the #NYCosmos. Every time you try to write anything about them you do so from such a ridiculously condescending standpoint that no one can even take you seriously. You are a NYCFC apologist and gloss over the very real drawbacks of that club, the insulting way they and MLS have treated this farm team franchise…i can think of about 30 local soccer writers and bloggers than are more qualified to write this article than you..you a a fucking hack of the highest order. Why Dave even allows you to get space on his page is a mystery.

  • Dave from Dix Hills

    Hey I missed the XI! Good stuff but should have added an ALI WATCH point. Red Bulls committing suicide should be a top headline.

  • Jim F

    Agree, Ali Curtis is shooting the Red Bulls in their own foot, or head – suicide.
    Getting rid of Mike Petke (our #1 connection to the club and most successful coach) is disgraceful!

    Maybe Ali is doubleagent working to make NYCFC and Cosmos look better relative to him – he is doing a fine job of it!


    What new message do the Cosmos need to send ? I don’t get it. Ship has been sailing along pretty well. Only setback would be the SSS wait. If anything they’re the most stable of all the NY area soccer teams.

  • Lou

    “The second play is to capitalize on the frustrations of Red Bull and NYCFC fans.”

    At what point have the Cosmos demonstrated this as a “clear play”? City and Bull fans have voiced their displeasure and some have said they’ll go watch the Cosmos instead. Cosmos supporters have had their laugh at the misfortunes of those two. The FO have sniped at MLS as an institution, but not made a play for these fans. Look at their communications, ticket offers. Nothing indicates this.

    Araos at it again.

    • Smith

      The Cosmos need not worry about Man City Lite or Ali’s Army. They will play well & without ridiculous weeknight games on the schedule, they will draw better crowds to see Raul & the rest.

      I will say this, though:

      I know several Red Bulls fans who are buying Cosmos tix in protest of Arrogant Ali.

  • Not a farm club?

    Give me a f****** break… NYCFC is a minor consideration and will be for the foreseeable future. There may be valid economic reasons for it… I say “valid” but I really mean in THIS unacceptable situation.

    We shouldn’t be in the business of allowing clubs to be in a situation where their baby is given priority and we are second.

  • Larry The Turd

    And with all the screw ups made by Man Lite and the Red Bulls the Cosmos still can’t make a dent in the sports conscience of NYC. LMFFAO. You clowns are still going to struggle to get more than a couple thousand fans out to Shuart. Raul? Really? What’s he going to do, raise the attendance from 2,000 to 2,025? Nobody is going out to Hofstra to see the Cosmos, you think they’re going to beat a path to that mythical world famous Cosmos Academy? Dream on saps! New York is red ladies!

    • Smith

      Yes, Ali Curtis is here. All is wonderful. God bless all he stands for.

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