COMMENTARY | The New York Red Bulls and New York Cosmos are not in any way rivals as of the posting of this piece. New York's lone top-flight club, the Red Bulls, play in Harrison, NJ. The Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, the continent's Division II pro league, will call James H. Shuart Stadium (Hofstra Stadium), located in Nassau County, New York, home for the foreseeable future. Unless/until the Cosmos join Major League Soccer, these two sides will only maybe face off against each other once a year; in US Open Cup play.
There's no reason that the Red Bulls and Cosmos cannot come to some working agreement for at least a year and a half until New York City Football Club become the area's third professional team and the 20th functioning franchise in MLS in early 2015. I'm not suggesting that the two brands cross-promote each other or work out some behind-the-scenes agreement for player swaps that may occur down the road. With that said, the Red Bulls pretending that the Cosmos don't exist and vice-versa is nothing short of absurd.
A first logical step would be for a NY vs. NY friendly that would occur either in late winter before the start of the 2014 MLS season or one that took place during the summer months. 2013 seems unlikely for such an exhibition, as the Red Bulls announced on June 14 that they will be hosting Olympique Lyonnais in a (cash grab) friendly on July 16. Regardless of when this thus far unplanned match involving RBNY and the Cosmos takes place, there will eventually come the issue of choosing the venue for the contest.
It's a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. The Cosmos are not selling out Red Bull Arena for a exhibition even if Pelé himself suits up for a kickabout. There is evidence to support that claim, as teams with legitimate current stars such as Tottenham Hotspur have, in the past, been unable to draw anywhere close to 25,000 fans for mid-summer friendlies. A Cosmos squad made up of veterans closer to retirement than they are their primes, former MLS players looking to restart their careers, and young footballers who haven't yet broken into a top-flight league simply isn't doing the trick.
The Cosmos hosting this match, on the other hand, makes perfect sense. That game would, in theory, bring in the biggest crowd of the year for the NASL outfit, one that would be a mix of the Borough Boys, new fans who either haven't yet chosen a side or who decided to just latch onto the Cosmos for whatever reason(s), and RBNY supporters looking to show that New York really is red. It would also be a way to introduce Shuart Stadium to an audience that before never had any real reason to journey out to Nassau to watch a soccer match.
I said at the start of this piece that the Cosmos and Red Bulls aren't rivals. The same can be said about the Giants and the Jets, and that doesn't stop them from playing in a preseason game each and every August. The Cosmos are a'comin', and so is the inevitable friendly involving them and the Red Bulls.
We all might as well have some fun with it, don't you agree?
For more: On the Cosmos, RBNY & NYCFC
Zac has been covering the New York Red Bulls, USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
- Sports & Recreation
- New York Red Bulls
- New York Cosmos