Alessandro Noselli’s second-half goal gave the newest incarnation of the New York Cosmos its first official win as the Cosmo’s opened its North American Soccer League (NASL) season with a 2-1 win over the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers.
While it wasn’t a sellout of the Meadowlands, like the Cosmos did back in its heyday, an impressive 11,929 people showed up to Shuart Stadium at Hofstra University Saturday night for the Cosmos’ season opener and the first meeting between the New York and Ft. Lauderdale since May 8, 1983, when the Cosmos beat the Strikers a 3-2 win at Giants Stadium.
With legends Pele, Carlos Alberto, and the late Giorgio Chinaglia, who was represented by his son George, honored before the game, it was a star-studded opening match. And, although, the crowds didn’t come in droves, the original legends of American soccer would have been proud with the turnout for a team without its own stadium, yet, and that has been built from the ashes in just a few years.
The impressive early attendance numbers for the Cosmos show there is interest and a fan base that wants to see the team succeed already. And if the team can keep its attendance numbers up and show that it can put a quality product on the field, it will only be time before the Cosmos compete against NYFC and the New York Red Bulls for the king of New York crown in Major League Soccer. Hopefully, it happens sooner rather than later.
First, though, the Cosmos need to establish itself as a viable franchise before MLS Commissioner Don Garber sanctions such a move.
For now, the hope is that Cosmos’ Chairman Seamus O’Brien and Garber continue to stay in constant contact, that the Cosmos can continue to drum up interest from fans in and around New York with its iconic global brand, and keep bringing soccer legends to play in American, which the team recently did by signing Villarreal midfielder Marco Senna. Because really, there is no place like the Cosmos for a players like Senna to play out the rest of their careers. It’s only fitting the Euro 2008 winner closes out the final chapter in his career in New York with the team that other greats have flocked to American to play for.
Soccer in American needs the Cosmos not only for the team’s mythology and history, but also for its international pull, which would be another welcomed boost to MLS’s marketing campaign as one of the best professional leagues in the world.