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.
In 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.
==Cosmos vs. Team America Downloads==
==United States vs. Canada Downloads==