The Whitecaps looked poised to make another strong Soccer Bowl run in 1981. They had a prolific and democratic offense. Vancouver ranked 3rd in the 21-team NASL in goals scored with 74 (trailing only eventual Soccer Bowl finalists Chicago & New York) despite the fact that their leading scorer Carl Valentine ranked just 20th in the league. The defense, keyed by 2nd Team All-Star Pierce O’Leary, was even better. The Whitecaps allowed a NASL-low 43 goals in 32 regular season matches. Englishman Barry Siddall was among the league’s stingiest goalkeepers with a 1.30 goals against average and 6 clean sheets in 24 appearances.
So it was a shock when the Rowdies blitzed Vancouver for a 4-1 victory in Game 1 at Tampa Bay on August 23rd. Vancouver actually got on the board first, courtesy of a volley from Valentine. But the Rowdies tied the match late in the first half and stunned the visiting ‘Caps with a three goal barrage in the second. The best-of-three series now headed back to Vancouver’s Empire Stadium for Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3.
“We’re a great team,” Siddall told The St. Petersburg Times resolutely after the Game 1 debacle. “And I guarantee you, things will be different at our place.”
Siddall was right. The Whitecaps couldn’t score at all three nights later in front of a near sellout at Empire Stadium. Vancouver organized their defense and controlled the tempo in the first half, but it was the Rowdies that scored against he run of play. English winger David Moss, playing his only season in America on a loan from Luton Town, beat the Vancouver defensive wall and Barry Siddall from 23 yards out on a free kick in the 28th minute. Moss had also scored for Tampa in the Game 1 rout.
The Rowdies defense and goalkeeper Kevin “Cat” Keelan blanked Vancouver the rest of the way and Moss’ goal held up in the 1-0 victory. The stunned Whitecaps went home in the first round for the second straight year. Tampa’s lack of talent caught up with them in the next round, and they lost to the NASL’s top regular season team, the New York Cosmos in the quarterfinals.
Collector’s note: Angelo DiBernardo of the Cosmos was pictured on the cover of the evening’s KICK Magazine match program (above right). This was the cover used for all NASL 1st round playoff matches in 1981.
Toronto Metros-Croatia was an anomaly within the North American Soccer League during the NASL’s boom years of the mid-to-late 1970′s. The club formed in 1975 through the merger of the NASL’s Toronto Metros (1971-1974) and Toronto Croatia of Canada’s small-time National Soccer League.
To the chagrin of league executives and observers, the merged club played up its ethnic identity, coming up with the awkward “Metros-Croatia” moniker and filling its management (entirely) and roster (largely) with ethnic Croats. In 1977, Tampa Bay Rowdies beat writer Ken Blankenship from The St. Petersburg Times published a long screed against the Metros-Croatia organization (and, by extension, the NASL for tolerating the club). Blankenship’s hackles were raised by a miserable experience trying to cover a Rowdies road game in Toronto. The writer described the Metros-Croatia as essentially an insular “neighborhood soccer team” lacking the most basic professional standards of operation and promotion, and existing solely for the amusement of a tiny bad of expatriate supporters: owner “Sam <Paric> and his Yugoslavian pals”.
Blankenship wasn’t a lone voice in the wilderness either. League officials purportedly directed broadcasters of the 1976 Soccer Bowl to refer to the club only as “Toronto”. At 1976 NASL meetings held during the Soccer Bowl championship in Seattle, influential New York Cosmos President Clive Toye introduced a motion to ban “ethnic names” from the 20-team league - a pointed jab at Toronto. The Croatians who backed the team pointed out that their name (and their money) was good enough for the NASL when they stepped in to bail out the failing Metros franchise in 1975.
But whatever Metros-Croatia lacked in professionalism off the field, they were a competitive club. Despite a chaotic 1976 season that featured a seven-game scoreless streak, the mid-season sacking of autocratic coach Ivan Markovic, and constant financial problems, Metros-Croatia got hot at the right time and actually won the 1976 Soccer Bowl championship of the NASL, defeating the Minnesota Kicks 3-0 at the Seattle Kingdome on August 28, 1976.
Although the club was typically categorized as a “Croatian” or “Yugoslav” club, Metros-Croatia’s 1976 Soccer Bowl run was helped by the acquisition of Portuguese legend Eusebio and German midfielder Wolfgang Sunholz from the NASL’s financially distressed Boston Minutemen franchise. Eusebio led Metros-Croatia in scoring and placed eighth overall in the NASL in 1976, but was left off the league’s All-Star team, as were all other members of the championship Toronto side. Eusebio also scored the decisive first goal in the Soccer Bowl ’76 final against Minnesota.
After the 1976 season, cash-strapped Metros-Croatia couldn’t afford to re-sign Eusebio or Sunholz. Clive Toye’s move to ban ethnic names went nowhere and the rest of the NASL had to deal with the odd little Croatian club from Ontario for two more season. Finally in January 1979 the club’s backers sold out to Global Television Network, who re-branded the team as the Toronto Blizzard a month later. Under Global, the Blizzard also left Metros-Croatia’s humble home at the University of Toronto and moved into new giant modern Exhibition Stadium for the 1979 season. Toronto Croatia re-joined the semi-pro National Soccer League.
Fans of modern day Major League Soccer may see many parallels between the Toronto Metros-Croatia story and the controversial ethnic identity and employment practices of MLS’ Chivas USA club in Los Angeles.
I snapped up this rare 1971 North American Soccer League (NASL) program on e-Bay the other day. Pretty much any American pro soccer material from 1969 to 1974, I’ll grab it as soon as I see it, and this program from the original Atlanta Chiefs (1967-1972) is a particularly nice example.
From 1969 to 1974 pro soccer was mired in one of the periodic dark ages that plagued the sport in America during a boom-and-bust cycle that extended from the U.S.A’s shocking upset of England in the 1950 World Cup through the formation of Major League Soccer in 1996. High profile efforts to launch a U.S. pro league in 1967 and 1968 saw 17 clubs taking part in the first season of the NASL in 1968, many backed by wealthy pro football and baseball owners. But the league collapsed swiftly and spectacularly with only five clubs continuing on for the 1969 season.
The Atlanta Chiefs, backed by and co-branded with Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves, were one of the shell-shocked survivors. By 1971 the NASL had stabilized somewhat, growing back to eight clubs including the expansion New York Cosmos, who would soon spark the next soccer boom with their signing of Pele, the world’s greatest player, in 1975. But that was still four years away and, in 1971, few people were paying any attention to pro soccer either in the sporting press or in the NASL’s near empty stadiums.
Consequently, I couldn’t find much record of this August 1971 international match between the Chiefs and Bangu of Brazil. A few brief wire service blurbs indicate that the Brazilians won 2-0 and the guys over at SoccerStats.us are the only source for attendance figure, claiming a paltry 3,480 were present at 52,000-seat Atlanta Stadium.
The original Chiefs died off in 1972, when the Braves sold the team to the operators of the new Omni Arena, who changed the club’s name to the Atlanta Apollos and quickly experienced buyer’s remorse. The new owners folded the Apollos in late 1973. After Pele’s arrival in America sparked a new soccer boom in the late 1970′s, the Braves got back in and formed a new NASL version of the Chiefs that ran from 1979-1981.
Great KICK Magazine match day from 30 years ago today, when the Chicago Sting took on their North American Soccer League arch rivals in an indoor soccer matinee at the old Chicago Stadium downtown. The crowd of 11,722 was the Sting’s largest of the indoor season so far, thanks to the holiday and the box office appeal of the hated New York Cosmos.
Cosmos’ striker Steve Moyers graces the program cover, but it was New York’s Polish indoor specialist Stan Terlecki who carried the afternoon for the visitors, scoring all four of the Cosmos’ goals, including the game winner with under three minutes to play. The Cosmos won 4-3. Charlie Fajkus (2 goals) and Ingo Peter scored for the Sting in a losing effort.
Team America was a novel idea that flopped on arrival for the faltering North American Soccer League in the spring and summer of 1983. From an all-time high of 24 clubs in 1980, the NASL shrunk to just 12 member teams at the dawn of the 1983 season. New league CEO Howard Samuels, who took over management of the league in June 1982, believed that the NASL needed to shift away from its dependence on pricey, aging foreign imports and work to develop more relatable American players to promote interest in the league. At the same time, the United States Soccer Federation wanted to get serious about developing a competitive U.S. National Team to compete in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and that might qualify for the World Cup in 1986, something that the U.S. hadn’t accomplished in 36 years.
Samuels and the USSF decided to form Team America, made up of 20 of the best American players in pro soccer, and enter it into the NASL as an expansion team (sort of) for the 1983 season. Team America would be based in Washington DC and play at RFK Stadium. A patriotic address to be sure, but also a city and venue where two separate NASL franchises known as the Washington Diplomats had folded within the past 30 months. In addition to competing in the pro league, Team America would also be the U.S. National Soccer Team in training, preparing for the following summer’s Olympics and tuning up for the World Cup qualification process. The USSF had the right to appoint Team American’s Head Coach and selected former Greek National Team manager Alkis Panagoulias.
Team America also needed a private investor group to back the team, so Samuels recruited New York businessman Robert K. Lifton, who in turn brought in his long-time associate Howard Weingrow and a couple of NASCAR impresarios, Mike Curb and Warner Hodgdon. Lifton’s group managed to secure a $1 million corporate sponsorship from the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. to promote its Winston Cigarettes brand through the club. Team America’s 1983 NASL schedule, along with handful of dates against international competition, was promoted as the “Winston Team America Series”. A tobacco sponsorship for the U.S. National Soccer Team would be unthinkable in contemporary America, but back in the early 1980′s it was one of the largest team-level corporate sponsorships in the history of American pro soccer.
The Winston deal was also one of the only things that went well for Lifton’s group and for the Team America concept. One major problem was the composition of the team. The best American players, of course, were already under contract with other NASL clubs or with the rival Major Indoor Soccer League. A mechanism was set up to allow rival NASL clubs to loan their players to Team America, but no one seemed to anticipate that some players wouldn’t want to go. Top Americans such as Rick Davis, Angelo DiBernardo and Steve Moyers of the New York Cosmos and Mark Peterson of the Seattle Sounders declined to leave their clubs to play for Team America. Peterson was significant, as the NASL’s reigning North American Player of the Year for the 1982 season. (With the Sounders themselves in organizational disarray, Peterson would later reconsider and join Team America for the season’s final month). Rick Davis’ refusal to go along gained the most press attention. The 24-year old midfielder was arguably the highest profile American-born player in the country, since the 1980 retirement of Kyle Rote, Jr. Part of Davis’ stature was related to playing for and touring the world with the star-studded Cosmos club, an organization that he was understandably reluctant to leave.
Among the players who did show up, Team America landed promising young defenders Jeff Durgan from the Cosmos and Dan Canter from the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. Defense was the strength of the team. Goalkeeper Arnie Mausser was one of the most experienced American-born players. But many of the Team America players were recently naturalized citizens, which showed just how shallow the domestic talent pool was in the early 1980′s. South African-bornAndrew Parkinson was Team America’s leading scorer with 12 goals.
After a strong start at 8-5, Team America’s lack of offensive ability doomed the team to a 2-15 slide to finish the 1983 season with the second worst record in the NASL at 10-20. Team America’s average attendance of 13,002 was actually 3rd best in the league, trailing only the Vancouver Whitecaps and New York Cosmos. But the average was inflated by a post-game Beach Boys concert that helped draw 50,000 to RFK(more than a quarter of the team’s annual total) for a June date against the Fort Lauderdale Strikers. By late summer, crowds at RFK dipped below 5,000 per match.
Owner Robert Lifton self-published a memoir in 2012 titled An Entrepreneur’s Journey: Stories From a Life in Business and Personal Diplomacy. In it, he devotes a few pages to his doomed investment in Team America:
“The team never got the top scoring players from the NASL, either because the players did not want to leave their teams, or the NASL owners were not prepared to give up the American players who could score, since they wanted those players to attractor local fans. So the team ended up with a strong defense and no offense of consequence… when you have a team that can’t score but can only hold down the scoring of the other side, you end up with games with very little scoring action. When I had representatives of Winston <Cigarettes> in the owner’s box at RFK Stadium, after a while neither they nor I had an interest in following the game.”
Lifton folded the club immediately after the NASL season ended in September 1983. Oddly, the failure of the Team America experiment also helped to drag down another NASL franchise in 1983. The Montreal Manic, owned by Molson Breweries, announced plans to shift to a “Team Canada” concept for the 1984 season, with plans to shed their best foreign players in favor of all-Canadian team to prepare for the 1986 World Cup. Although the Manic continued to play with an international cast in 1983, the planned transition was so unpopular with the team’s French Canadian fan base that attendance collapsed and Molson folded the club in frustration in November 1983.
Alkis Panagoulias coached the U.S. National Team in the 1984 Olympic Games, but the U.S. failed to qualify for the 1986 World Cup, which was one of the stated aims of forming Team America. The Americans would finally qualify in 1990, ending a forty-year exile from the planet’s most popular sporting event.
Anyway. If you’ve been annoyed with the heavy soccer coverage on Fun While It Lasted during the past year – especially the Cosmos – you can blame it almost solely on Ike and his awesome, once-in-a-lifetime collection. Or you can blame me. It makes no difference to either of us at this point.
This is one of the cooler finds from Kuhns’ files. A four-age tabloid newspaper style match program for a March 1979 pre-season exhibition between the Cosmos and Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara (colloquially known as “Tecos”) at San Franscisco’s Kezar Stadium. I can’t imagine many of these broadsheets survived the walk home from Golden Gate Park that day, let alone 35 years moldering away in somebody’s attic. Maybe this is the only one – you can download the whole thing at the bottom of the page.
Tecos traces its history back to 1935, but the club only became fully professional in 1971. Nevertheless, by 1979 they were a competitive team in the Mexican First Division and worthy of facing the Cosmos in this 1979 pre-season tune-up, played before 9,000 or so mostly Mexican-American fans in San Francisco. And the Tecos held their own on this day, drawing the Cosmos 2-2. Giorgio Chinaglia scored two in the first half to give the New Yorkers a 2-0 advantage at intermission. But the Tecos clawed their way back in the second half to earn the tie courtesy of goals by Eladio Vera and David Salas.
In fairness, Cosmos manager Eddie Firmani was without two of his best players – Carlos Alberto and Dennis Tueart – and he started Trinidadian Earl “Spiderman” Carter in goal. Carter had an awesome nickname but he was also a 9th stringer who literally never played in a North American Soccer League regular season game when it counted.
One last (ultra geeky) curiosity about this match. The NASL had two Bay Area franchises in 1978. The San Jose Earthquakes played at Spartan Stadium and the Oakland Stompers lasted just a single season at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. A month prior to this match the Stompers were sold to Canadian interests and moved to Edmonton, Alberta. So I was surprised to see the Tecos Game Notes (download them below) printed on Stompers letterhead. Either the Stompers were due to be the organizational “hosts” of this exhibition before their abrupt move to the Great White North, or else some lone Stompers PR flack was left behind with a few leftover piles of Stompers stationary and he offered to help out with the event promotion.
The New York Cosmos faced Italy’s A.C. Milan at Giants Stadium in June of 1982 as part of the club’s impressive series of international exhibitions during the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. The Italians kept the pressure on throughout the evening, outshooting the New Yorkers 25-11. But Cosmos back-up goalkeeper David Brcic was up to the task, recording a clean sheet as New York triumphed 1-0. It was a rare outdoor appearance for Brcic, who handled most of the starting duties for the Cosmos indoor team during the wintertime, but played in only 19 matches during seven outdoor seasons with the Cosmos between 1978 and 1984.
Steve Hunt scored the lone goal for the Cosmos, beating Milan goalkeeper Ottorino Piotti in the 34th minute.
The crowd of 17,896 had to be considered disappointing for the era. The Cosmos’ 1982 international exhibition slate at Giants Stadium also included visits from the Peruvian National Team, Nacional of Uruguay, Napoli of Italy and Flamengo of Brazil. Only the Nacional match drew a smaller crowd than Milan.
I received a shipment this week of old Edmonton Drillers indoor soccer programs from the North American Soccer League (1968-1984). Most are from the winter of 1980-81, a strange campaign that saw the Drillers quarantined north of the border due to the NASL’s ongoing labor shenanigans until the playoffs, when they descended into the Lower 48 and, improbably, won the league championship.
This match was a 7-4 Drillers home victory over the Calgary Boomers at the end of January 1981. It was Drillers’ 14th match and already their sixth against the Boomers, their newly formed provincial rivals. The wacky schedule was thanks to a move by the National Labor Relations Board of the United States to bar the NASL’s Canadian franchises from gaining entry to the United States until league owners resolved their collective bargaining impasse with the fledgling NASL Players Association. In fact, the Drillers played their entire regular season schedule against just three clubs – the Boomers, the Toronto Blizzard and the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The Drillers and the Boomers attempted to lend some meaning to the repetitive schedule by creating something called the Lethbridge Brewery Challenge Cup to celebrate the victor of their endless series of indoor contests. The Drillers’ victory gave them a 4-2 edge in the season series and bragging rights to the Challenge Cup, for whatever that was worth. (The Boomers would fold in September 1981 after just 12 months of operation, so the NASL’s intra-Alberta rivalry was over practically before it began).
The Drillers brightest young star, 24-year old Finnish import Kai Haaskivi was pictured on the cover of the evening’s KICK Magazine match program. Haaskivi went on to finish second in the NASL in scoring during the 1980-81 indoor season and became one of the top indoor players during the sport’s brief rise to prominence in the mid-1980′s.
The NASL resolved its labor and travel problems sufficiently to allow the Canadian teams to take part in the league’s indoor playoffs in February 1981. The lightly regarded Drillers surprised everyone by rolling through the playoffs and capturing the championship in a two-game sweep of the Chicago Sting in early March 1981.
Labor strife hung over the North American Soccer League as the organization opened its twelfth season in April 1979 with a peak membership of 24 clubs. In 1978 the NASL Player Association (NASLPA) earned certification from the National Labor Relations Board and now it wanted formal recognition from the NASL’s owners. With the owners stonewalling, the NASLPA called a strike for Saturday, April 14, 1979, the third week of the young season.
It turned into a weird weekend. The infant NASLPA didn’t hold strong sway over its membership and many players ignored the call to walkout, despite a 252-113 union vote in favor of the strike. The American players tended to support the strike action more strongly than the NASL’s large contingent of foreign imports, although the foreigners were rattled by threats that they could face deportation is they crossed the picket lines and subverted an American labor dispute. Meanwhile, players on the NASL’s three Canadian-based clubs were prohibited from striking by national law.
In Rochester, all of the Lancers’ American players struck, but the foreigners played, supplemented by scabs from Rochester and New York City amateur leagues. The Lancers were routed by a full-strength Tulsa Roughnecks squad. In Memphis, every member of the Rogues except Argentinean forward Ruben Astigarraga walked out. In Fort Lauderdale, 44-year old Strikers Head Coach Ron Newman put on boots and played in the match to help fill out his depleted roster. NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam worked to undermine the strike by lifting the rules prohibiting one-game contracts and intra-league player loans, as well as the rule requiring all teams to play two North Americans on the field at all times.
On Friday the 13th in New Jersey, the NASL’s defending champion New York Cosmos had to decide whether or not to get on the plane to Georgia for Saturday’s scheduled match against the Atlanta Chiefs. The Cosmos’ NASLPA player rep Bobby Smith, an American and thus a minority on his star-studded club, convinced his teammates to vote 20-2 to observe the strike and not board the bus for the airport. But, crucially, Smith didn’t persuade the team to disperse after the vote and that gave Cosmos General Manager Krikor Yepremian and Warner Communications Chairman of the Board Steve Ross time to turn the tide against Smith and the NASLPA. Franz Beckenbauer led the procession of starters onto the bus as Smith and a small group of American reserve players looked on in frustration. The loss of the influential Cosmos team was a major blow to the NASLPA.
Now there was a game to play. The sides were reasonably full strength, as the Cosmos had all their starters and only three of Atlanta’s American reserve players (player rep Tommy Lang, Bob Robson and Scott Strasburg) honored the strike. The Cosmos had the early edge, with English forward Dennis Tueart commanding the attack. Tueart put New York up 1-0 with a strike in the 38th minute. Three minutes later, Tueart put another shot on goal and Giorgio Chinaglia tapped in the rebound for a 2-0 Cosmos lead at intermission.
The Chiefs charged back in the second half. Aggressive Dutch defender Wim Rijsbergenwas whistled for a penalty in the 72nd minute and ex-Cosmo Jomo Sono converted for Atlanta to cut the New York lead to 2-1. It appeared the lead would hold until Atlanta’s Louie Nanchoff stunned the New Yorkers with the equalizing goal at 89:40 with less than 30 seconds left in regulation.
Nanchoff’s last second heroics sent the match to the Shootout, the NASL’s unique variation on penalty kicks to avoid ties. Each team sent out six shooters, who charged the opposing goalkeeper from 35 yards out, with five seconds to get off a shot. After the Chiefs and the Cosmos tied in the first round of shootouts, they went to a second series, where Rijsbergen got a chance to atone for his late penalty that let Atlanta back into the game. Rijsbergen was denied by Chiefs goalkeeper Tad Delorm. But Delorm was called for fouling the Dutchman which resulted in a rare moment – a conventional penalty kick awarded in the midst of the NASL’s weird alternative to penalty kicks. Rijsbergen converted the winning kick from the penalty spot and the Cosmos escaped from Atlanta with a 3-2 shootout victory on the NASL’s strangest weekend.
As well as the Chiefs’ acquitted themselves against the defending champs, the match must have sounded alarm bells for Chiefs management. The Chiefs were new to Atlanta in 1979, marking the return of pro soccer to the city after a six-year absence. The Cosmos were traditionally the league’s strongest draw on the road and the match was only the second home game for Atlanta, when the curiosity factor should still have been high. Nevertheless, the Chiefs announced barely over 10,000 fans for the match, which was the smallest crowd to watch the Cosmos since a 1976 match in Rochester, New York. Crowds would remain terrible for the Chiefs for three seasons until the team folded in 1981.
The NASLPA player strike formally ended five days after it began on April 18, 1979, done in partially by the refusal of the influential Cosmos to participate and by the stated disinclination of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service to deport foreign players who crossed the strike line. To date, the April 13-18, 1979 NASL player strike – such as it was – remains the only work stoppage in American pro soccer.
This June 1979 match marked the North American Soccer League debut of Dutch national team midfielder Johan Neeskens. Neeskens, a key member of Holland’s World Cup final teams in 1974 and 1978, was arguably the last truly impactful European star imported by the New York Cosmos (1971-1985), a club that became world famous for importing foreign stars to America. (Neeskens would also hang on longer than the others and was the last big name left when the Cosmos played their final season in 1984).
The Cosmos’ opponent on this Sunday afternoon were the New England Tea Men, and a national TV audience on ABC joined the 41,428 on hand at Giants Stadium. The Tea Men were struggling through a wretched sophomore jinx season, but they always played the Cosmos tough. During New England’s expansion season in 1978, the Tea Men were the only NASL club to beat the eventual champion Cosmos twice. On July 12th, 1978 New England beat the Cosmos 3-1 in New Jersey, ending the Cosmos two-year, 23-match unbeaten streak at home. Coming into this game 11 months later, the Cosmos had built up a new 12-game home winning streak.
Neeskens was the story going into the match, and he was strong in midfield, nearly scoring on a volley just over the New England crossbar in the 55th minute. But the story of the day – surprisingly – was a pair of young American stars who’d dropped out of college the previous year to play for the Cosmos.
21-year old David Brcic, who left soccer power St. Louis University in 1978 to sign with New York, got his first start of the season, after spending the first sixteen matches deep on the bench behind both Jack Brand and Erol Yasin. Brcic was outstanding, making 10 saves and recording a clean sheet against the Tea Men. It was a rare moment of outdoor glory for Brcic. Though he stayed with the team until it’s demise in 1985, he never won the outdoor starting job, seeing most of his action during the Cosmos’ winter indoor seasons of the 1980′s, which the club never seemed to take especially seriously.
The other young standout was 20-year old midfielder Rick Davis, considered by many to be the finest American player in the game. Playing in his 30th pro match, Davis had earned a reputation as a reliable distributor, earning 7 assists through the first 16 matches of the 1979 season. But he had never scored a goal, until the 50th minute of this game, when he put a knuckling shot past Tea Men goalkeeper Kevin “Cat” Keelan. Davis was too surprised to celebrate and walked calmly back to midfield while his teammates leaped and yelled around him. It was the only goal of the match in the Cosmos 1-0 victory.
Prior to the 2:30 PM kickoff, there was a preliminary match between the New York Freedoms, champions of the amateur Cosmopolitan Soccer League’s Major Division, and a team of Cosmopolitan League All-Stars. Over the years, more than a dozen Cosmopolitan League alumni made it up to the NASL and other American pro leagues. You can check out the press notes and rosters from this match in the Downloads section below. The All-Stars head coach was Dr. Gerry Klivecka, brother of Cosmos’ manager Ray Klivecka.
Former Cosmos star goalkeeper Shep Messing is pictured on the cover of the day’s KICK Magazine program, but by this time he was upstate New York, playing his final season of outdoor soccer with the anything-but-glamorous Rochester Lancers.