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New York Cosmos’ future in the air; NYCFC’s David Villa wins MVP – CBS New York

By Peter Schwartz
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It was an eventful week for professional football in the New York / New Jersey area.

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As Major League Soccer prepares for Toronto FC and Seattle to battle it out for the MLS Cup on Saturday, the United States Soccer Federation is still busy clearing up the names of the major leagues under Major League Soccer. At the same time, the three top professional teams in our area go about their business.

Actually, do this as usual for two of the three teams.

Gone twice in your life?

The 2006 film “Once in a Lifetime” traced the story of the original New York cosmos from its humble beginnings to Pele, Giorgio Chinaglia and Franz Beckenbauer, who drew huge crowds into Giants Stadium, to the demise of the team and the North American Soccer League 1984. For most of three decades, the most famous soccer franchise in United States history fell asleep.

That lasted until 2013, when the Cosmos returned to the pitch in today’s NASL and promptly won three soccer bowls in four seasons, including the last two. Together with the five titles won by the original Cosmos, that makes a total of eight NASL championships. But there seems to be no chance of a three and a ninth title.

Amid reports that the NASL is weakening its business and the cosmos goes out of business, with players being laid off and staff either laid off or on leave, the future of the current squad is very much in the air. The team, or possibly just the Cosmos name and brand, are said to be up for sale with a group from New York City said to be interested.

That can mean a lot:
A new owner could take a year off and then find a league to play in.
The Cosmos could switch to the United Soccer League, which could soon receive Division 2 status in the USA.
With a new owner in possession of the Cosmos name, he or she could be pursuing a third MLS franchise for New York, New Jersey.

However, these are frustrating times for everyone connected with the team, including the staff, players, and fans. I got rooted for Cosmos as a child and was thrilled to be able to work as a PA speaker for the newly founded club for four years. It hurt to see the original team collapse, and this time the feeling is similar.

I empathize with the full-time employees who seem to have lost their jobs in the middle of the holiday season. They all worked hard top to bottom as the Cosmos built themselves into the league’s class.

Hopefully they can all land on their feet and hope that the Cosmos can somehow return to the square in the near future.

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Can you say “three times in a lifetime”?

MLS Honors are colored red and blue

New York City FC forward David Villa, right, dribbles the ball against Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Baggio Husidic in the first half at Yankee Stadium on August 20, 2016. (Image: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports.)

Congratulations to New York City FC star David Villa, who was named MLS Most Valuable Player on Tuesday.

Villa scored 23 goals that season, leading NYCFC to its first postseason appearance. The 35-year-old received an average of 25.9 percent of the combined votes from players, management and media.
It was a whole New York / New Jersey top 3 in the MVP vote, with Bradley Wright-Phillips of the Red Bulls and Sacha Kljestan taking second and third. BWP scored 24 MLS-leading goals to win the Golden Shoe. Kljestan, who has also spent some time with the US national team, meanwhile has 20 assists in the league.

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Villa, Wright-Phillps and Kljestan were also named to the MLS Best XI squad for 2016. All three players received the award for the second time.

From green to blue?

Daniel Szetela

Daniel Szetela (right) of Cosmos of New York Cosmos and Siu Kwan Chan of South China fight for the ball during the 2015 Lunar New Year Cup game on February 19, 2015 in So Kon Po, Hong Kong. (Photo by Victor Fraile / Getty Images)

With all Cosmos players now in the open market after their release, you can be sure that there will be MLS teams out there who will care for a lot of them. In fact, a Cosmos gamer may not have to go far to find work. NYCFC is said to be interested in New Jersey-born midfielder Danny Szetela, according to multiple reports. The irony is that last season in the US Open Cup, Szetela’s 88th-minute header gave Cosmos a 1-0 win over NYCFC.

Call to national duty

Some local players have been called up to the United States U-20 national team for the club’s international camp and two friendly matches against the Costa Rican U-20 national team on December 17-19. En route to San Jose, Costa Rica, New York Red Bulls II star midfielder will be Tyler Adams, who hails from Wappingers Falls, New York. He is joined by defense attorney Marcello Borges of Kearny, New Jersey.

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You can follow me on Twitter @pschwartzcbsfan.

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