Over the past six months or so I’ve pumped an absurd amount of money that should have gone into retirement savings or my baby girl’s college fund into acquiring large chunks of the remarkable estate collection of the late Newark Star-Ledger sportswriter Ike Kuhns. Kuhns covered all sorts of events, but I’ve been focusing on his meticulous New York Cosmos soccer archives, which probably should have been sent to the National Soccer Hall of Fame, except that the Hall is currently out of business and its collection is currently gathering dust in a storage facility somewhere in North Carolina.
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.