Chicago Sting v New York Cosmos At Wrigley Field, 1981: Video

On June 28, 1981, more than 30,000 sports fans filled Wrigley Field to watch Chicago Sting play New York Cosmos in the North American Soccer League (NASL).

As you’ll see from the above video, it was a highly entertaining game played in front of a passionate crowd on a hot summer’s day in Chicago.

Enjoy the video, and feel free to post any questions or observations about the video in the comments section below.

30 thoughts on “Chicago Sting v New York Cosmos At Wrigley Field, 1981: Video”

    1. Sorry about that Nick. I can’t believe I messed up there. I know better. Ok, it’s now fixed and thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      The Gaffer

  1. Those games are Wrigley were great, btw, 30k was not the normal attendance…just for the hated Cosmos.
    I was a huge Sting fan. They were stupid not to name the MLS team the Sting. They had a good following.

    They really didn’t play D back then did they. Like watching the old NBA films.

    Chinaglia misses in the shootout to lose it. Pefect. Noone was as hated as him.
    I think I saw Karl-Heinz and Roberto Cabanas out there.
    Great times.

  2. Wow, the defending really was bad in those days… in fact even the offensive skills were poor (especially in the shootout – did that first guy really toe-poke the ball? And Chinaglia tried to side foot it from 20 yds??).

    Was the yellow-line part of NASL’s funny version of the off-side rule?

    1. Yes, that was the NASL offside line. Looks to me like Chinaglia was offside by conventional rules on the Cosmos’ first.

    2. Toe-poking isn’t entirely unprofessional. You’re taught that it is when you’re very young, because you want to develop form over power, control over cheap-tricks. But when you’re in the box, in mass confusion with little time, use the two inches you have and toe-poke that sucker in the back of the net. Goal is a goal, and there are many great goal scorers that mastered the toe-poke.

      1. True, I know it has it’s place…not sure if the situation in the video is that place though.

        In the English league, Burnley’s Graham Alexander specializes in toe-poked penalties, which is certainly a sight to behold.

  3. The yellow line was two fold.

    The 35 yard line was used for offsides, which really ended up shutting down the game more. Instead of the back line pressing forward to the midfield, they hung out at the 35 yard line.
    Counterattacking was a little tougher.

    It was also for the start of the shootouts, which inspite of this video were VERY exciting. I never like ties however ( still don’t another thing I don’t like about MLS ).

    1. You don’t like ties? Part of what I like about soccer is that they’re OK without a winner. They battle for 90 minutes and that’s that, move on with their lives. I find extra time and shootouts exhausting, and am glad they only happen in huge games.

    2. I’ll apologize upfront for da fakt dat my keyboard is skrewed up, meaning I kannot type sertain letters, so I’m typing in krazy lingo instead….

      Anyway, from wat I see from dis /ideo, it seems dat da yellow line rule just made for a /ery “relaxed” midfield . So spread out dat dere was no pressure on anyone.

      Ok, wow it was painful to write dat!

    1. Because it would look really bad for MLS, a league still fighting for respectability, to play a game at an unsuitable ground like that. Look at them dribbling across the sandy infield!

    2. Zach K.

      I was there back in the 70s for Sting games.
      The seating sucked to be kind.
      It was awesome because it was Wrigley and it was US soccer.

      That was all.

  4. more exciting and better quality than mls……just sayin.

    the shootouts are stupid and wrigley field was awesome. its a shame CFSC couldnt get a stadium in downtown, (as if they tried) i bet you they would be selling out that stadium every game if they had tried to get it downtown

    1. If you think the defense displayed in this video is anywhere near the defense seen weekly in MLS…you know, it’s a waste of time even having this argument, since you probably don’t watch the league. Bye.

    2. And you apparently no next to nothing about to soccer. Any MLS club could play both of these teams off the pitch. I could see RSL dropping 6 or 7 on the supposed defenses of these NASL squads.

    1. I dont, but I remember something about the field, like it was short and wide. It wasn’t quite right, not as in outside FIFA restrictions, but more like KC having to narrow a field.

    2. Did you see them play the Northwestern v. Illinois football game there? The goalpost on one end was right up against the ivy. For soccer you’d have to go with less than 120 yards to fit the goals in.

  5. Shootouts to decide regular season games are stupid, but the NASL style kicks are vastly superior IMO to the traditional FIFA PKs. Ideally I’d love to see them replace PKs both to decide cup matches and also during game PK situations.

    The traditional PK involves slim to no skill whatsoever. It’s just a guessing game. The hockey-style penalty shot is one thing the NASL got right.

  6. As a Chicagoan, this is pure awesome.

    “Because it would look really bad for MLS, a league still fighting for respectability, to play a game at an unsuitable ground like that. Look at them dribbling across the sandy infield!”

    @Joe: If the infield situation can be taken care of (i.e. put some sod down), a game at Wrigley would be great for everyone involved. The NHL has had great success with the Winter Classic and outdoor hockey. Why not MLS too?

    COMPLETELY UNRELATED: MLS has clearly tried to market itself to different segments in a single metro area by adding Chivas and hoping to add a second NY team (I still count Harrison as part of the NY metro area). This is just one fan’s opinion, but I wonder why Chicago hasn’t been in the two team city conversation.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Fire have done a great job. Consistently competitive (minus 2010), good fan relations, and they managed to build themselves a home not too far from the city limits, but I think a team on the north side would be a great natural rival for our south side Fire (especially in the absence of a Milwaukee or St Louis team).

    I dunno, maybe I’m just pandering to the Cubs fan inside me. Any thoughts?

    1. I’m a Fire fan living in Chicago, and, for the most part, I don’t get the impression that people actually living in Chicago have any idea about the Fire, so I cannot guess to how they would treat a team actually within the city limits and on the north side. Seems to me that’s where they should have planted the Fire in the first place. Teams playing within their city’s limits seem to draw bigger crowds. Oh well. However, I would not like my allegiance to the Fire to grow murky due to how much easier it would be to get to a team withing the city limits. Getting out to Toyota Park without a car is a HUGE pain in the ass. And I, of course, have no wheels.

  7. Hahaha retarded American commentators. And wow, the defense sucked backed then. Also, Chicago STING?! HAHA it’s not WCW.

  8. The Fire have nearly the same attendance and make more money as a club at Toyota Park than they did when they played on the lakefront at Soldier Field.

    1. Yeah, but if they were in the city today, that attendance may have continued to grow. The game is more popular today here in the States than it was four years ago. I would imagine more sell-outs if they had a soccer-specific stadium in city limits.

  9. Wow…thank you SO much for posting this video…it brought back SO many wonderful memories!

    I remember this game SO well. I worked for the Sting back then and was up in the press box and it was my mom’s birthday (she was in the stands) and the game was SO exciting. That scissor kick from Chinaglia that Deiter saved was amazing!

    The Sting and the Cosmos were so well matched that their games often went to Shoot Out (including the Soccer Bowl game in September that same year).

    GREAT memories…Thanks again! :)

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