Lively Tales About Dead Teams

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July 6, 1983 – New York Cosmos vs. Team America

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Laurie Abrahams Tulsa RoughnecksNew York Cosmos vs. Team America
July 6, 1983
Giants Stadium
Attendance: 35,228

North American Soccer League Programs
88 Pages


A patriotic soccer double-header at the Meadowlands on this July evening in 1983.  A Pan American Games qualifier between the United States and Canada opened the show at 6:30 PM, followed by a North American Soccer League match between the New York Cosmos and Team America.  Team America was a new side in the NASL, the so-called “National Team in Training” of the United States, which was disastrously inserted as a privately-owned club team into the league’s 1983 schedule.

The amateurs took the field first with the sun still lingering over Giants Stadium.  This two-leg series against Canada was the final Pan-Am Games qualifier for Manfred Schellscheidt’s United States team.  Only one of the two CONCACAF members would advance to the Games in Venezuela at the end of August.  They fought to a draw on this night, with each side tallying early in the first half and then holding on for a 1-1 tie.  The U.S. would best Canada four nights later at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario to earn the qualification.

Julio Cesar Romero New York CosmosIn the nightcap, the Cosmos ran roughshod over Alkis Panagoulias’ ramshackle collection of young American pros and Green Card recipients.  Paraguayan midfield magician Julio Cesar Romero ran the show, scoring one goal and setting up three others.  The Cosmos won 4-0, despite losing the NASL’s all-time leading scorer, Giorgio Chinaglia, to a severe hamstring pull early in the 2nd half.

An interesting moment occurred late in the match when Team America’s 21-year old captain Jeff Durgan knocked down New York’s Rick Davis, drawing a yellow card.  Durgan was one of three players under contract to the Cosmos who were selected to play for Team America in 1983, along with Boris Bandov and Chico Borja.  Davis was also chosen for Team America, but refused the assignment, opting to remain with the Cosmos.  Team America’s demoralizing performance in the NASL was partially blamed on the refusal of a handful of the league’s young American stars, including Davis and Mark Peterson of the Seattle Sounders, to leave their clubs and join Team America.

The failure to procure the actual best American players to play for Team America ultimately helped to doom the team  After a grim 10-20 record and big financial losses playing out of a home base at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., the Team American experiment was euthanized a few days after the NASL regular season ended in September 1983.

Laurie Abrahams of the Tulsa Roughnecks was pictured on the cover of the evening’s KICK game program (above right).


==Cosmos vs. Team America Downloads==

July 6, 1983 New York Cosmos Game Notes

July 6, 1983 Team America Game Notes


==United States vs. Canada Downloads==

July 6, 1983 United States Soccer Federation USA vs. Canada Fact Sheet

July 6, 1983 United States Pan American Team Roster

July 6, 1983 Canada Pan American Team Roster

July 6, 1983 United States Player Bios



New York Cosmos Home Page

Team America Home Page


1971-1985 New York Cosmos

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New York Cosmos YearbookNorth American Soccer League (1971-1984)
Major Indoor Soccer League (1984-1985)

Born: December 10, 1970 – NASL expansion franchise.
Folded: Summer 1985.



Team Colors:

  • 1974: Green, Yellow & Blue
  • 1977: Green & White


  • 1971-1984: Warner Communications (Steve Ross, et al.)
  • 1984-1985: Giorgio Chinaglia, et al.

Soccer Bowl Champions: 1977, 1978, 1980 & 1982


Text coming soon…



New York Cosmos Memorabilia



New York Cosmos Video

Trailer for Once In A Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos



In Memoriam

Former Cosmos head coach Hennes Weisweiler, who managed the club from 1980-1982, passed away on July 5, 1983.  He was 63.

Cosmos founder/owner & Warner Communications CEO Steve Ross passed away on December 20, 1992 from prostate cancer at 65.

Julio Mazzei, who helped bring Pele to America in 1975 and later coached the Cosmos in the 1980’s, died on May 10, 2009 at age 78.

Ex-Cosmos player/owner Giorgio Chinaglia, the NASL’s all-time leading scorer, died on April 1, 2012 at age 65.




1973 New York Cosmos Season Ticket Brochure

June 1978 New York Cosmos Travel Itinerary – Minnesota

March 25, 1979 Cosmos vs. Estudiantes Tecos Game Program

June 11, 1979 – Cosmos Sign Dutch Star Johan Neeskens Press Release

August 31, 1980 – Pele to Don #10 Again in Beckenbauer Farewell Press Release

1982 New York Cosmos Soccer Bowl Press Kit

November 20, 1983 Cosmos Sign Dan Canter Press Release



North American Soccer League Media Guides

North American Soccer League Programs

Major Indoor Soccer League Media Guides

Major Indoor Soccer League Programs



July 13, 1999 – Staten Island Vipers vs. MetroStars

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Staten Island Vipers vs. MetroStars
1999 U.S. Open Cup – 3rd Round
July 13, 1999
Yurcak Field
Attendance: 1,077

United Soccer Leagues Programs
64 pages


Rare program and press notes (downloads below) from the 1999 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, American’s oldest nationwide soccer competition.  Started in 1914 as the National Challenge Cup, ethnically-based amateur and semi-pro clubs dominated the competition for most of the 20th century.  As late as 1994, the Cup final was contested by Greek-American A.C. of San Francisco and Bavarian Leinenkugel of Milwaukee.

All that changed in 1995 when professional teams from the A-League entered the competition.  Two A-League clubs, the Richmond Kickers and the El Paso Patriots, dispatched the amateur qualifiers and advanced to the final, with Richmond taking home the Cup.

With the formation of Major League Soccer in 1996, American had a proper 1st Division pro league for the first time in twelve years.  MLS embraced the U.S. Open Cup (unlike the NASL of the 1960’s – 1980’s, whose clubs never took part).  From 1996 to present, Major League Soccer clubs have won every Open Cup tournament, with the exception of 1999, when the 2nd Division Rochester Raging Rhinos won the tournament, upsetting four MLS teams along the way.

This program comes from the 3rd round of that same tournament and this match marked the first of many MLS upsets in the 1999 brackets.  Well, maybe not that big an upset in this case.  The MetroStars of Major League Soccer were 5-12 in league play at the time and slogging through a horrid season under manager Bora Milutinovic that would ultimately end with a league-worst 7-25 record.  Their opponent was the Staten Island Vipers, a two-year old A-League club who were having a terrific campaign in the 2nd Division.  The match was technically a home game for the New Jersey-based Metros, but the modest ticket sales for Open Cup matches didn’t justify opening the club’s normal home at 76,000-seat Giants Stadium in East Rutherford.  Instead, the MetroStars rented 5,000-seat Yurcak Field in Piscataway.  Only 1,077 die hards showed up.

The Vipers seized the initiative early, taking a 1-0 lead in the first half and then earning a man advantage when MetroStars forward Eduardo Hurtado was sent off for a flagrant foul in the 53rd minute.  But the MetroStars battled back in the second half, scoring two goals after going a man down to take a 2-1 lead late.  Both MetroStars goals came off the foot of midfielder Billy Walsh, a former New Jersey prep star returning to Yurcak Field where he starred as a collegian at Rutgers.  But then the MetroStars imploded in typical fashion, conceding a late equalizer to minor league war horse Lee Tschantret to send the match into overtime.  Five minutes into the extra period, Staten Island’s Kevin Wilson scored on a breakaway goal to bounce the MetroStars out of the Open Cup.

The Open Cup upset was likely the high point of the short, obscure history of the Staten Island Vipers.  They would lose their next Open Cup match – the quarterfinal round – to another 2nd Division club, the Charleston (SC) Battery.  At the end of the 1999 season, the Vipers’ owners folded the team after only two seasons of play.



July 13, 1999 MetroStars Game Notes

July 13, 1999 Staten Island Vipers Game Notes

July 13, 1999 U.S. Soccer Open Cup Tournament Notes



June 7, 1998 Miami Fusion vs. MetroStars

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Tony Meola MetroStarsMiami Fusion vs. MetroStars
June 7, 1998
Lockhart Stadium
Attendance: 9,073

Major League Soccer Programs
68 pages


1998 was the first year of expansion for three-year old Major League Soccer.  The league went into Chicago with great success and also into Miami, where things weren’t quite so rosy.  Miami Fusion investor-operator Kenneth Horowitz spent a reported $5 million to convert Fort Lauderdale’s Lockhart Stadium into what was essentially the league’s first soccer-specific stadium.  But after a season-opening sellout of 20,450 for the Fusion’s inaugural match on March 15, 1998, attendance quickly dipped into the sub-10,000 territory that would plague Horowitz’s club throughout its brief existence.

This June 7th match against the MetroStars was the Fusion’s seventh home date, not counting a in-season friendly against the Honduran National Team.  By this point in the summer, the withering South Florida heat became a factor in the Fusion’s worrisome attendance as well.  Many of Miami’s home matches were scheduled as matinees and Lockhart Stadium was a 97-degree cauldron when the Fusion and the (New York/New Jersey) MetroStars took the field at 3:30 in the afternoon.

Giovanni Savarese put the visitors up 1-0 in the 35th minute, but the Fusion controlled the run of play, outshooting the Metros 28-11.  New York goalkeeper Tony Meola, pictured on the cover of the afternoon’s FREEKICK game program, turned away 27 of those shots, but couldn’t stop a 15-footer from Miami’s Diego Serna in 63rd minute to bring the score even at 1-1.  Savarese took himself out of the match just a minute earlier with his legs beginning to cramp up in the heat.  It was Saverese’s replacement, Miles Joseph, who knocked home the winner for the Metros with just two minutes left in regulation.

Serna would go on to play all four seasons of the Fusion’s existence and finish as the club’s all-time leading scorer with 52 goals in 100 appearances.  MLS contracted the Fusion in January 2002, along with the league’s other Florida club, the owner-less Tampa Bay Mutiny.  To this day, the Fusion and the Mutiny remain the only franchises to fold in MLS’ 18-year history.

One interesting roster note for this match:  Tony Meola’s understudy at the goalkeeper position was Tim Howard, parked deep at the end of the MetroStars bench.  The future U.S. National Team starter and English Premier League mainstay would only appear in one match for the Metros all season, making his MLS debut on August 18, 1998.




June 7, 1998 Miami Fusion Game Notes

June 7, 1998 New York MetroStars Game Notes



Major League Soccer Media Guides

Major League Soccer Programs


Written by AC

September 21st, 2013 at 10:41 pm

May 6, 1990 New Jersey Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies

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New Jersey Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies
May 6, 1990
Cochrane Stadium
Attendance: 754

American Professional Soccer League Programs
22 pages


A decade earlier it could have been a North American Soccer League match at Giants Stadium in front of 50,000 fans.  Hubert Birkenmeier was in goal with Andranik Eskandarian and Nelsi Morais patrolling in front him, defending against the likes of English playmaker Ray Hudson and dangerous South African striker Steve WegerleHeck, even Clive Toye was on hand, as President of the home team.

But this was wasn’t 1980 and the Meadowlands.  It was 1990 and Jersey City, during the Dark Ages of American pro soccer between the demise of the NASL in 1985 and the formation of Major League Soccer in 1996.  This is what passed for the top level of American soccer at the time, with Toye’s New Jersey Eagles and their small contingent of New York Cosmos’ old-timers playing the last surviving NASL refugee, the Tampa Bay Rowdies, in front of 754 fans on a Sunday afternoon in a  high school football stadium.

The game itself was uninspired.  Tampa’s Alan Anderson scored the game’s only goal, beating Birkenmeier in the 88th minute after New Jersey blew an offside trap for the second time in the match.

“I don’t like offside traps and we never practice them,” noted Eagles coach Terry Garbett, another ex-Cosmos, to Bob Kurland of The Bergen Record afterwards. “Yet the players decided to do it on their own and they were beaten twice.”

One interesting footnote to the match.  The goalkeeper for the Rowdies was a former University of New Haven player named Nick Sakiewicz who hadn’t played professional soccer in six years.  He recorded an easy shutout on four saves.  Sakiewicz’s playing career would come to a quiet end at the end of the 1990 season, but he went on to become a very prominent executive in Major League Soccer and is today the CEO of the Philadelphia Union club.



5-6-1990 New Jersey Eagles vs. Tampa Bay Rowdies Scorecard

5-6-1990 New Jersey Eagles Game Notes


==Additional Sources==

“Eagles coach seeks spark for offense”, Bob Kurland, The Bergen Record, May 7, 1990







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