Garber: “We Are Not Going to Have a Third Team” in New York

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

MLS Commissioner Don Garber did not mince words when asked during the State of the League about whether he would like to see the Cosmos brand in MLS.

With both NYCFC and the New York Red Bulls succeeding in the New York metro area, Garber shut the door on a third team — namely, the New York Cosmos.

“As it relates to the Cosmos, it’s a great brand,” said Garber to the media. “We have two teams in MLS in New York. We are not going to have a third team.”

Currently the NASL is in a state of flux. News broke that the league’s marquee franchise, the New York Cosmos, was potentially ceasing operations after massive losses incurred since their restart back in 2013. Many had theorized that the team would help lift the NASL into a competitive battle with MLS for first division supremacy but that has not happened.

Now the league faces the possibility of losing D2 status to the USL — and even the chance of folding altogether.

“When there’s instability it’s not good for anyone,” said Garber. “All of that is going on in real time. I spoke to Alec Papadakis two days ago. I know that they’re in discussions to try to figure out a way that perhaps there could be more order in the lower divisions. They have an application in for a second division status with US Soccer. I don’t know where that stands. It’s probably operating in real-time and Sunil Gulati might be able to give you a bit more perspective on that but we will continue to support the game, including at the lower levels.”

One of the big reasons that the USL has made such a resurgent comeback after the split with NASL over six-years ago has to do with the direct affiliation with MLS. Ten teams are currently operating reserve teams in the USL and nearly every team has an affiliation with a club in the third division. This direct link has helped the USL explode from 13 teams in 2013 to 30 teams in 2017.

The NASL, on the other hand, has taken a more independent stance, refusing to associate in a “minor league baseball” model with MLS franchises.

As for the New York Cosmos, the situation remains bleak. The team has released players from their contracts and Head Coach Giovanni Savarese has been assisting players in finding clubs to play for in the coming season. Ownership has also been silent about their moves, leaving many in their fan base to speculate about the club’s future.