August 6, 2011
By Charles Cuttone
Making new memories, for better or worse
I thought the moment I flipped on the TV to watch the New York Cosmos take on Manchester United in the Paul Scholes farewell game, a flood of memories about the old days would come rushing over me.
I wanted it to, but it didn’t happen. There was some interest there, both personal, given my history with the storied franchise, and professional, given my current role in the soccer media, but there was no flood of nostalgia or longing for this team.
What was on the field was a ragtag bunch that easily got manhandled by one of the best teams in the world. Last week at the MLS All-Star Game, commissioner Don Garber said he didn’t want to see teams in his league embarrassed they way the Seattle Sounders were in a 7-0 loss to ManU, or ultimately the way the league all-stars fell 4-0. But that’s exactly what we saw on Friday, with the Cosmos giving up six goals in one of the most lopsided games any team wearing that crest has ever lost.
Honorary President Pele and Director of Soccer Eric Cantona assembled a team of invited guest players, including many familiar names as well as a few promising kids from the club’s U23 program. But with little prep time, they were no match for the season-ready Red Devils, who will play in the traditional opener to the English season, the Charity Shield, on Sunday.
There has been a lot of buzz about the Cosmos trying to acquire the 20th franchise in MLS, one that is likely to come with a hefty price tag and some competition for the franchise.
“They're one of many ownership groups,” Garber said at the All Star Game. “I like their guys. I think they're doing a terrific job. I'm going to try to go out and go see one of the friendly matches that they're playing."
Despite the drubbing the team took on the field against ManU, something that can be cured with a training camp, you have to believe that Don Garber wants the Cosmos in his league.
After all, MLS has a relationship with Manchester United. The team takes millions of dollars to come to the U.S. to play friendlies as part of its preseason training. Yet it wasn’t the LA Galaxy or DC United that were invited to Old Trafford, it was a team that doesn’t exist, that hasn’t played a game since before many MLS players were born. The name and the logo still resonates more than any name or club currently in MLS.
Many more performances like the one Friday at the Theatre of Dreams, and it could turn into a nightmare, however.