All the pieces were in place. The defending champions of the NASL, the New York Cosmos were back in New York City. They were playing their home opener at MCU Park in Coney Island, where they were undefeated and drew 6,204 fans. They had superstar artist Farruko performing as an extra attraction. They even ended the first half scoreless but looking decent. Then the second half began and it all went downhill as the Cosmos were exposed by the Miami FC as a facsimile of their former selves.
When Rocco B. Commisso brought back the Cosmos from extinction, he did not have this in mind. As the third team in the metropolitan area, comparisions are constantly being made and he wanted the Cosmos to be a relevant part of the conversation.
The conclusions from this evening is that they are far from flattering feedbacks. Seven returning players are not enough to carry the weight and without the injured Carlos Mendes in midfield last night they struggled mightily in midfield looking very unattractive to a new home base with many Long Island fans left way behind due to distance.
Secondly, the loss of last season’s team leading scorer Juan Arango, who returned to Venezuela to play for Zulia has been felt already as the Cosmos have yet to score in 2017 which will not draw fans even to MCU Park as lack of goals equates to a boring product.
Thirdly, the Cosmos have no star attraction such as they had in Raul in 2015 and they are still suffering from the lack of star power. To compete with the New York Red Bulls and NYCFC the Cosmos have to acquire a proven scorer or international star with a name. Better if that player is both. And they will be expected to win.
The NASL is not going to serve them as a platform to compete unless they win the championship. In a league that was awarded a move up to Division II status, they are still perceived as quite weak with only eight teams fielded, six of which are in the United States. The Cosmos so far do not look good in comparison. The curiosity will fade and the colder weather that is expected when your site is near the sea will not be tolerated long if they don’t do at least those two things. Time will tell if it’s too late to get what is in essence a glorified expansion team with a crown to a winning status that will serve as an alternative to MLS in the Big Apple.
Luis Vazquez (@Cyberj2000)