CONCACAF Considers Letting New York Cosmos Play in Champions League, Say Sources: Monday Soccer Insider

On Saturday night, the New York Cosmos won the NASL Soccer Bowl for a sixth time. According to my league and team sources, CONCACAF is trying to find a way to get the Cosmos, a second division team, into the continental CONCACAF Champions League. While I have not been able to confirm this with CONCACAF, I could see the Confederation working closely with NASL due to the common bond of Traffic Sports USA who provide marketing services for both entities and owns three NASL clubs.

Regarding the Cosmos victory, four of the previous five Soccer Bowl victories occurred in an era when the NASL was one of the top leagues in the world. The fifth occurred while the NASL was the recognized first division of the US even though the league’s standard of play at the time was only moderately professional. This triumph however is more controversial for a few reasons. Firstly, many opposing fans feel the Cosmos were given an unfair advantage by playing only half the season. Secondly, without any sort of salary cap or guidelines in NASL, and by playing a shorter season, the Cosmos had a disproportionate financial advantage over the rest of the league.

Nonetheless, the Cosmos must be congratulated for gelling a team relatively quickly and running roughshod over a league whose established sides are usually tougher to break down and beat than they proved this past season.

With the New York Red Bulls losing in the MLS playoffs, it is the Cosmos turn to gloat in the battle for New York.

In Europe, AS Monaco is beginning to look more and more disjointed as the season wears on and it seems those of us who had hoped for a proper title race in Ligue Un this season will be disappointed. Paris Saint-Germain continue to impress and seem destined to run away with a second consecutive title.

In the Championship, the way Danny Ings is scoring pretty and timely goals for Burnley makes me think Roy Hodgson should give him a look for England. Speaking of Hodgson, the call up of the Southampton trio of Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert are well deserved. In particular, Rodriguez can do a job for England in my opinion.

The last 48 hours have yielded some discussion in media circles if Jose Mourinho’s presence is leading to officiating decisions that favor Chelsea in the light of Saturday’s horrible decision to award a penalty when West Brom seemed destined to see out the game with a victory. I don’t buy this particular logic though it must be unpleasant for a match official every time Jose chooses to berate them.

Mourinho’s old mate, Steve Clarke — who I have dubbed “Mr. Chelsea” for his long service to the club both as a player and coach — got the better of Jose on Saturday. As always, Clarke had his team tactically set up well and the Blues had a very hard time breaking down the Baggies. Still Mourinho’s changes did liven up the match and while Chelsea did not deserve their equalizer, they perhaps did deserve something from the game.

Manchester City’s defeat at Sunderland was predictable given the Citizens recent record at the Stadium of Light and the club’s poor away form this season. But unlike the loses under Roberto Mancini that were hard fought affairs often decided on a questionable call, City made it easy on the Black Cats. Seeking a change in recent fortune, Gus Poyet’s side set up to attack and while Manchester City had injuries to contend with, playing a high line was suicidal. City’s backline lacked pace, did not provide any additional width to the side and the lone Sunderland goal took place because of defenders being caught up the pitch for no good reason. Manchester City have lots of problems at the back and unlike Roberto Mancini who built from the back, Manuel Pellegrini seems determined to force a philosophy on a backline that seems incapable of implementing his vision. The result is continued head-scratching loses away from home and the realization that City may not finish in a European spot this season.

It is worth noting that Manchester City did not lose a match before December 9th each of the previous two Premier League seasons and this season have already dropped four by November 10.  Of course the retort to that can be that City have actually already secured advancement from a European group as opposed to the previous two European campaigns that ended in humiliation. Still by shifting the priority from the league to Europe in an increasingly competitive league environment, it is entirely possible Manchester City will not qualify for European competition next year.

Across to the other half of Manchester, all the talk that David Moyes was out of his depth and Manchester United were not title contenders seems rather silly now, doesn’t it Phil Jones is turning into the versatile type John O’Shea player that was so important to United’s title success between 2006 and 2009.

Near the bottom of the table, Fulham is in dire shape. Looking back at the last nine months of football, they have been far and away the worst squad in the top flight of English football. Shahid Khan has a decision to make. Take Fulham down and sweep the decks, or try to make changes to try and fight to stay up this season. While the answer may seem obvious to some, I am not so sure how obvious it is. Fulham have stayed in the top flight a lot longer than anyone expected and even reached a European final in that period. But I wonder about the long-term health of a club without a robust supporter base whose success has largely been down to the generosity and commitment of one man, the former owner Mohammed Al-Fayed.  Fulham must learn to live within its own means and my feeling is going down may not be the worst thing for the West London club.

21 thoughts on “CONCACAF Considers Letting New York Cosmos Play in Champions League, Say Sources: Monday Soccer Insider”

  1. I am for this as long as the precedent is set that the NASL champion gets to play in that tournament from now on. I recognize that the only reason this is being considered is because the Cosmos won. Had Atlanta won, nobody would be talking about this. Maybe the Cosmos brand name can be used to elevate the entire league? I think that was the plan.

    1. Would anyone in the NASL other than the Cosmos even want to play in CCL? The addition of two international roadtrips and two midweek home games seems more like more of a financial burden than a competitive benefit.

      1. Islanders FC did fine in CCL even eliminated LA galxay. Actually they were in it a few years in a row up until 2011. NASL is considered 2nd division but it is not. You need PRO/REG to have a 2nd division. The champ of the NASL should be able to enter the competition or the Champ should enter MLS, one league should not hold that much power. Only their teams qualify, I know US open cup but that is the only competition with many games that are sudden death. I mean dc united the worst team and one that should be relegated won it. US soccer id bullsh@t. MLS is bs too. We cant even win a CCL against mid table MX teams. It comes back to our lousy US league and system.

        1. yeah , I agree. Since the U.S doesn’t have pro/rel they should allow the NASL winner a CL slot.

          btw…what’s wrong with USSF? Pro/rel is how the sport is played all over the globe. American fans want it.

  2. I get the sentiment but I don’t think anyone is clamoring to get the Liga Ascenso MX included too, so it just seems weird. Traffic wouldn’t have anything to do with this, hmmmm?

    1. But are they better than the Red Bulls, Houston, KC, Portland, and RSL? I really doubt it. And those are the pool of teams that are going to represent MLS in CCL. Sure they could beat any of those teams in a single game, but Sunderland just beat Man City too.

      What about DC United you ask? DC won the US Open Cup. If the Cosmos wanted, they could have entered and tried to win that competition as well.

    2. Cosmos better than at least half the MLS teams??? Are we that blind?? Besides Senna, the cosmos have a team filled with players that wouldn’t sniff a minute in DC United’s A team. Carlos Mendes the captain of the Cosmos is a washed up MLS player! Lets not get carried away.

  3. Sounds like there was an attempt at a premptive strike behind the scenes at US Soccer by MLS against the NASL about Concachampions participation. On Saturday, reported that the US Open Cup champion would not get a spot-then they retracted their story Sunday. Now this news gets released. This report translates as: the NASL doesn’t need US Soccer/US Open Cup victory to get a CONCACAF bearth. The infighting between leagues is pathetic in the US.

    1. This pales in comparison to the fiasco that is Oklahoma City with the USL Pro and NASL both announcing franchises within 24 hours each other (why the NASL didn’t go to Tulsa, where you know they had the Roughnecks one of the most successful teams in the old NASL I’ll never know).

  4. I can’t agree on Fulham going down. The money spent to get a new manager and improve the club in January while large, would be far less than the money lost if the club goes down. I can’t think Kahn purchased the club only to see it go down this quick (might as well have lit his money on fire).

    The future of Fulham is actually fairly bright if they can stabilize. Their academy is just about to start producing players. They’re about to renovate the Riverside stand to increase attendance and match day revenues. They have a chance to solidify themselves as a top 10 club going forward. But if they go down, it’s going to be very hard and expensive for them to come right back up.

  5. Giving a CCL slot to the winner of the second division makes no sense at all. The path for the second division teams is to win the Open Cup. If the Cosmos are serious about it, it shouldn’t be that hard, given that MLS teams don’t take it seriously until the final (if then).

  6. As much as I’m happy that the NY Cosmos won the NASL Soccer Bowl, I agree with other posters that the Cosmos should not be in the CCL by winning the 2nd Division Championship.

    The only way is to win the US Open Cup. As Alex noted, if Atlanta or another team had won the Soccer Bowl, there would be not talk of including them in the CCL.

    I watched the game (even though I’m not a fan of internet/online viewing) and the game play was ok. Equal to some MLS games and better than others.

    I do believe that the Cosmos are as good as or in some cases better than the a number of MLS teams such as Chivas USA, SJ Earthquakes, Whitecaps, Toronto.

    They might even be better than other teams in the CCL from other countries but because they don’t play in the top flight league (MLS) and/or didn’t win US Open Cup, sorry – not CCL for them.

  7. I think I agree with the folks who are pointing out that it cheapens CCL to let a second division club in. But, I’d also point out that NASL isn’t truly “second division” since there is no pro/rel. NASL is just a different league whose teams are generally worse quality than MLS.

    But, I think a tournament like CCL is better if you can find a way to be more inclusive. Why not have something like Champion’s League qualifying like they have in UEFA? Isn’t there already a process like that for all the island teams? Why not let “secondary champions” all go into some kind of 16-team scrum to see who can get out alive.

    I love the Cosmos’ story. Good for them to forcing MLS and CONCACAF to react to the success of an upstart team that is playing by its own rules.

  8. Jesus, read that first paragraph again. Proofread much?

    As to the general point, if you couldn’t confirm it with CONCACAF, then WHY ARE YOU RUNNING THE STORY?

    You don’t name sources, you don’t tell us why they remain anonymous, you don’t lend credibility to your report AT ALL.

  9. And, yes, Dean the NASL really IS a second division. USSF sanctions leagues.

    And the NASL has second-rate cities, second-rate players, second-rate coaches, second-rate stadiums and second-rate training facilities. Regardless of your fanboy circle jerk promotion and relegation fantasy, they ARE a second division and couldn’t be a first division challenger without about a billion more dollars.

    God, you people are dumb.

    1. The only idiotic thing you mentioned Jason was a financial aspect. By this logic of yours, all teams that once played in “second division” were second rate because of finances, and when they bought their way into MLS they were a first rate team. Sounds like hypocrisy on your part and anyone who buys into this myth. I don’t support any of the the leagues. I am EPL. But I do look at the US landscape and it is a total joke from how “second division” teams are categorized and discriminated because they are labeled based on finances rather than performance. What a joke! I guess we should get the worse team in all of MLS simply buy a ticket into the CCL. No wait, stop – have them actually buy their way into the FIFA Club World Cup because “financially they are a first rate team”. Rubbish! Get off of your vicarious high horse lad. People like you is what ruins the game in America. The day that MLS and NASL play against each other in a separate tournament to see which teams stand and which fall to then make a pure first and second division, then you can talk about a second division team not joining the CCL. In the meantime, hush your ignorance, because all you have now in MLS (“the first division”) is a league filled with teams that buy their way in to the top, instead of earning it – e.g. New York City FC (Seriously, what a joke!)

  10. If the NASL were to revive the LA Aztecs it would be a major blow to MLS + Chivas + Galaxy. It would certainly shake things up in LA, and it would immediately elevate the NASL brand in this country’s 2nd largest media market.

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