Back in 2011, I made my way over to Old Trafford and refused to “Stand up if you love Paul Scholes” while fulfilling an ambition to watch the New York Cosmos, back in action.
This was obviously the Paul Scholes testimonial, but more importantly, the New York Cosmos were playing for the first time since the mid 80’s. However, to me it was a bit of a false Cosmos, made up mainly of players who had no interest in the team and run by Cantona, who had no connection with the Cosmos or US soccer in general. My opinion was that he was appointed to generate publicity in the UK.
Fast forward to 2015, now with no Cantona in sight, and the capable Giovanni Savarese in control, the Cosmos are back for real and have been for a couple of years. The Cosmos were taking part in their third season in the revived NASL, albeit the “second” tier of US Soccer. They won the NASL in 2013 and were well on the way to winning it again in 2015. I was fortunate enough to catch a Cosmos game at the James Shuart Stadium in Hofstra, which was their initial venue in the early 70’s. Getting there might have seemed a problem, but watching the handy guide on the Cosmos website, I managed to get from Penn. Station within central New York to Shuart Stadium via the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road). It stopped at Mineola, where I got on to the typical USA school bus, arranged by the Cosmos, to get to the stadium.
It wasn’t packed, but the Stadium was impressive. A heavy shower hit, but late in the second half, Raúl struck to give the New York Cosmos a 1-0 win over Jacksonville Armada FC. In the meanwhile, I got my free Giorgio Chinaglia bobble head and a glass and a cup with the Cosmos logo on (why not?).
After the game, it was a reverse trip to Mineola and then back to Penn. Station, before completely drying out in the heat and back to the hotel.