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April 26, 1980 – Tulsa Roughnecks vs. New York Cosmos

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Keith Furphy Detroit ExpressTulsa Roughnecks vs. New York Cosmos
April 26, 1980
Skelly Stadium
Attendance: 30,822

North American Soccer League Programs
96 pages


One of the all-time great matches in the history of the Tulsa Roughnecks (1978-1985) club.  The New York Cosmos brought all of their international stars to Oklahoma for this early season 1980 match – Alberto, Beckenbauer, Chinaglia.  30,822 fans turned out, a Tulsa club record which would never be surpassed.

The match was physical. Roughnecks coach Charlie Mitchell instructed his players to get after the Cosmos’ aging stars.  Tulsa imposed their style on the match.  Referee Dante Maglio whistled 59 fouls and issued five yellow cards in the match.  The Cosmos got few clean chances on Roughnecks goalkeeper Gene DuChateau, who needed to make only one save in the match.

Nevertheless, the Cosmos got on the board first, when a bad clearance by Billy Gazonas led to Giorgio Chinaglia’s 99th league goal and a 1-0 New York lead in 24th minute.  The Cosmos took the lead into the locker room at the intermission.

But in the second half, Tulsa’s Northern Irish internationals Billy Caskey and Victor Moreland took over.  The Roughnecks tied the match in the 62nd minute, when Moreland punched in a corner kick from Alan Woodward amidst a scrum in front of the net (the goal was initially credited to Caskey).  Caskey got the game winner in the 79th minute, beating New York ‘keeper Hubert Birkenmeier one-on-one after a Cosmos’ defensive lapse.  The Roughnecks held on for the 2-1 upset.

After the match, Tulsa sweeper Jo Edvaldsson shared his assessment with Randy Krehbiel of The Tulsa World:

They’re superstars,” said the Icelandic international.  “They’re not used to playing from behind.  They have seven or eight superstars out there.  But we have a team of players who care about each other.  You didn’t see them going after tackles.  We have more character.  We deserved to win it.”

The Cosmos and the Roughnecks would meet again in the 1st round of the 1980 NASL playoffs. The Cosmos annihilated Tulsa 11-2 in the two-game series, including a record-shattering 8-1 beating in Game Two that featured seven goals from Chinaglia.



Dodgy pre-game show footage from the Cosmos’ local WOR-TV coverage of the match.




April 26, 1980 Tulsa Roughnecks Game Notes

April 26, 1980 New York Cosmos Game Notes



==Additional Sources==

“Rufnex Forced Cosmos Out of Their Orbit”, Randy Krehbiel, The Tulsa World, April 27, 1980



Written by andycrossley

July 15th, 2013 at 2:41 am

December 29, 1979 – Minnesota Kicks vs. Memphis Rogues

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Minnesota Kicks vs. Memphis Rogues
December 29, 1979
The Met Center
Attendance: 12,105

North American Soccer League Programs
8 pages


This 1979 match program comes from the very early days of the North American Soccer League’s experiments with indoor soccer.  During the mid-1970’s the NASL staged occasional indoor exhibitions or short offseason tournaments featuring a handful of clubs.  The winter of 1979-80 was to be the league’s first go at a full-fledged indoor season, staged partly in reaction to the sudden emergence of a competitor – the Major Indoor Soccer League – which began play the previous winter.

Participation was voluntary during this first indoor season and only 10 of the NASL’s 24 clubs decided to play.  The pioneers included several of the league’s sadsack clubs, such as the Atlanta Chiefs, California Surf and Memphis Rogues, while the best teams, like the New York Cosmos and the defending outdoor champion Vancouver Whitecaps, sat on the sidelines.

The Minnesota Kicks were one of the stronger and more popular clubs to jump into indoor.  Only the Cosmos and the Tampa Bay Rowdies drew bigger crowds outdoors than the Kicks, who averaged nearly 25,000 per match in the summer at Metropolitan Stadium.  That enthusiasm carried over to the novelty of the indoor game.  This December 1979 tilt against the Memphis Rogues at The Met Center was the second indoor match ever played in Minnesota and the Kicks pulled a near-full house of 12,105.  For the 1979-80 indoor season, the Kicks led the NASL in home attendance at 9,562 per game, nearly double the league average.

The big crowd would go home disappointed.  The match was unusually low-scoring for an indoor game and the visiting Rogues pulled out a 3-2 overtime victory.  Memphis shut down the Kicks’ top scoring duo of Alan Willey and Ron Futcher altogether.  Minnesota got goals from John Bain and Gary Vogel.

Billy Gazonas from the Tulsa Roughnecks, the 1977 Hermann Trophy winner as America’s top collegiate player, was pictured on the cover of the evening’s KICK match program.



December 29, 1979 Minnesota Kicks Game Notes


Written by andycrossley

July 7th, 2013 at 12:55 pm

June 16, 1982 – Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. New York Cosmos

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Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. New York Cosmos
June 16, 1982
Tampa Stadium
Attendance: 28,475

North American Soccer League Programs
130 pages


This was the 21st match in one of the North American Soccer League’s great rivalries.  The New York Cosmos led the Tampa Bay Rowdies 12-8 in the all-time series, including a 3-1 victory in Soccer Bowl ’78.  But Tampa ‘s eight victories were the most that any NASL club had ever imposed on the Cosmos and both teams were nearly unbeatable on their home turf in the rivalry.  New York was 11-1 at home and the Rowdies were 7-1 at Tampa Stadium.

All that was about to end.  After six straight winning seasons and three Soccer Bowl appearances from 1975 to 1980, the Rowdies were sliding into their steep 1980’s decline of four straight losing seasons from 1981 to 1984.  Tampa Bay came in a respectable 7-8, but was riddled with injuries to key players including Perry Van Der Beck, Tatu and Zequinha.  A season-ending injury to rookie goalkeeper Tom Boric four nights earlier caused Rowdies manager Gordon Jago to hand the start to Jack Brand, signed off the scrap heap two days earlier.  Brand was an ex-Cosmos (1978 & 1979) who started in goal and defeated the Rowdies in Soccer Bowl ’78.

The crowd of 28,475 was the largest Rowdies turnout of the season to date.  The clubs played scoreless soccer for 80 minutes before Steve Moyers headed a ball past Brand in the 82nd minute.  English striker Steve Hunt, reunited a month earlier with the Cosmos after a three-year absence, added an insurance goal four minutes later to ice the 2-0 victory for the visiting New Yorkers. Hubert Birkenmeier made nine saves for the Cosmos to keep it even early.

Irish international David McCreery of the Tulsa Roughnecks was pictured on the cover of the evening’sKICK Magazine match program.



June 16, 1982 Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. New York Cosmos Game Notes

June 16, 1982 New York Cosmos at Tampa Bay Rowdies Game Notes


Written by andycrossley

June 12th, 2013 at 2:58 am

December 11, 1983 – Chicago Sting vs. Tulsa Roughnecks

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Chicago Sting vs. Tulsa Roughnecks
December 11, 1983
Chicago Stadium
Attendance: 10,223

North American Soccer League Programs
48 pages


The late English defender Barry Wallace graces the cover of this KICK Magazine indoor soccer program for a December 1983 match between the Chicago Sting and Wallace’s Tulsa Roughnecks at the old Chicago Stadium.

The Sting were a hot ticket at the time.  The NASL was known primarily as an outdoor league, but the Sting drew stronger crowds for indoor soccer in the winter time, once the league began experimenting with indoor in the early 1980’s.  10,223 turned out for this afternoon matinee at the Stadium.   The Sting reeled off a 10-5 victory over Tulsa, thanks to four goals from Rudy Glenn and a pair each from Charlie Fajkus and Dave Huson.  It was the Sting’s 21st straight indoor victory at home.

As for Wallace, the London native came over to Oklahoma from the Queens Park Rangers at the age of 20 in 1980.  He became a fixture on the Tulsa soccer scene, sticking with the Roughnecks until their demise in 1984, before bouncing around with various indoor and outdoor teams around the U.S. until the mid-1990’s.  But every time a new team tried to make a go of it in Tulsa, Wallace returned to the city and suited up.  He played indoor with the short-lived Tulsa Ambush in the early 1990’s and played outdoors for the Tulsa Renegades and a low-level revival of the Roughnecks in the mid-1990’s.

After soccer, Barry Wallace remained in the United States for the rest of his life, and was very active in youth soccer in the Kansas City area.  Tragically, he was diagnosed with cancer in September 2006 and passed away one month later.



Chicago Sting Roster, December 11, 1983

Tulsa Roughnecks Roster, December 11, 1983


Written by andycrossley

February 8th, 2013 at 4:02 am

November 26, 1983 – Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Tulsa Roughnecks

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Tampa Bay Rowdies vs. Tulsa Roughnecks
November 26, 1983
Florida State Fairgrounds Expo Hall
North American Soccer League Programs
8 pages

This program is from the Tampa Bay Rowdies home opener for the 1983-84 North American Soccer League indoor season on November 26, 1983.  By this point, the once proud Rowdies were in a downward spiral that mirrored the woes of the rest of the NASL.

At their peak in 1980, the Rowdies averaged 28,435 games per match for 15 outdoor home games at Tampa Stadium.  In the 24-team NASL, only the mighty New York Cosmos were a bigger draw.  To lend some context to that number, only three teams in Major League Baseball – the New York Yankees, the L.A. Dodgers and the Philadelphia Phillies – outdrew the Rowdies on a per-game basis during the summer of 1980.  Meanwhile, the Rowdies routinely sold out the 5,545-seat Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg during the winter indoor season and the club became one of the NASL’s most enthusiastic proponents of the indoor game.

It’s remarkable how far the club had fallen by late 1983.  Rowdies outdoor attendance in 1983 dipped to 11,172 per game, pulled down by terrible 7-23 club and by the booming popularity of their new summer co-tenant at Tampa Stadium, the John Bassett/Burt Reynolds-owned Tampa Bay Bandits of the United States Football League.  (Deprived of sponsors and advertisers, this program was down to a slim 8 pages, compared to 52 pages for the club’s indoor debut four years earlier).

The NASL itself had lost half its membership, down to just 12 clubs.  The Rowdies opponent on this evening, the Tulsa Roughnecks, won the league’s outdoor Soccer Bowl ’83 championship just one month earlier.  But immediately thereafter the club’s owners threw in the towel after years of red ink.  The Roughnecks only staggered into Tampa for this match thanks to a telethon by a Tulsa radio station that raised $65,000 to meet the club’s November payroll less than two weeks earlier.

Due to the financial pressures, the NASL mothballed the previous winter’s 1982-83 indoor season entirely.  Several NASL clubs took up an offer of temporary membership from the rival Major Indoor Soccer League, but the Rowdies sat out the winter of 1982-83 entirely.  Up to that point, the Rowdies were quite ambitious about the indoor game.  Before its cancellation, the Rowdies intended to move half of their 1982-83 indoor season matches out of St. Petersburg to the 9,000-seat Expo Hall at the Florida State Faigrounds near Tampa.  After three more or less sold-out seasons at Bayfront, Rowdies officials felt they had outgrown the intimate waterfront venue.

By the time the Rowdies returned from an 18-month absence from indoor play on this November evening in 1983, such assumptions about fan support were out the window.  Nevertheless, the club moved ahead with plans to put some games into the big arena at the Fairgrounds, starting with the home opener.  In an effort to reinvigorate the fan base, the Rowdies also brought back flamboyant Englishman Rodney Marsh as manager in October 1983.  As a player, Marsh was one of the most popular figures in Tampa during the club’s heyday in the late 1970’s.  The Rowdies never really found a charismatic figure to replace Marsh when he left the team after the 1979 season.  This match marked his official return to Tampa after four years away.

Program cover model Mike Connell was also a link to the Rowdies’ glorious past.   By the fall of 1983, the 27-year old South African was the only original Rowdie remaining from the club’s outdoor debut in 1975.

Sadly for the Rowdies, the club’s fortunes continued to decline under Marsh.  The club finished dead last in the 1983-84 NASL indoor standings with a 9-23 record.  And the fans didn’t return either, with attendance down to 2,692 per game, less than half what the Rowdies averaged during their previous indoor campaign at the Bayfront Arena in the winter of 1981-82..

A lone bright spot was the play of 21-year old Brazilian striker Tatu, who finished third in the league in goals with 49.  Tatu would go on to be perhaps the greatest player in the indoor game during the 1980’s and 1990’s.  But not with the Rowdies.  The NASL folded in January 1985, after one final outdoor season.  The Rowdies hung around in various forms until 1994, latching on sporadically with various indoor and outdoor leagues, but never again captured the sustained interest of the Tampa Bay sporting scene.



Written by andycrossley

May 27th, 2012 at 1:36 am