Cosmos coming to town
In case you haven't noticed, the US Open Cup kicked off this week and last night Hartford Athletic found out who their first opponent will be: The World Famous NY Cosmos.
Alright, so this isn't the Cosmos of the 1970s who inspired America's first soccer renaissance, but this version, aka CosmosB, represent the iconic club in the NPSL and will be coming to Hartford Tuesday May 14th for USOC second round play.
There's a few things you should know about the latest incarnation of the Cosmos: 1) They are good 2) They won in thrilling fashion last night 3) They aren't your average NPSL team.
Owned by billionaire Rocco Commisso, this reborn version of the Cosmos competed in the now defunct NASL (USL's main equivalent) up until the League's demise in 2017. Competing now in lower division NPSL, the Cosmos or "CosmosB" are the one of the gold standards as far as NPSL clubs are concerned. Currently, the Cosmos sport players from 10 different countries, and a roster of experienced guys who really could compete for first team spots throughout the USL. This is about as good an NPSL opponent as Hartford could draw. With their loyal fanbase and proximity to Hartford, I expect the Cosmos to travel well to Hartford this Tuesday.
So what does this all mean? Obviously, the focus should be on tomorrow night's league matchup with Memphis 901, but Tuesday, Athletic will have a great opportunity to get a solid win early in this year's cup competition. A win over the Cosmos could be one that will not only feel good in local rivalry terms, but also help instill some further confidence in Jimmy Nielsen's squad. I hope everyone who can will make it out to Al-Marzook Field this Tuesday and root on the green and blue!
PS: The greatest thing that has every happened to soccer fans in the USA is ESPN+. I mean, you can watch USL, Serie A, and all of these Open Cup games for $5.99 a month. Let me tell you too, these lower division Open Cup games are like crack for any avid soccer fan. Just local clubs and minnows battling it out like it's life or death in their biggest competition of the year. It's truly what makes soccer the best sport in the world. I can only pray that Athletic are ready to meet the intensity Cosmos will bring, because for them, it's incredibly important to kick our ass...let's not let that happen.