My “bucket list” always included watching a live soccer game with the fans of Manchester United, Barcelona or Brazil’s national team. I always wanted to connect with different people and have our collective voices matter. I thought that could only happen in places like Europe or South America, not Nassau County. I was surprisingly wrong.
The Borough Boys, Five Points and Cross Island Crew (NY Cosmos fan groups) banged their drums, stomped their feet, and yelled their collective lungs out the entire 90 minutes plus extra time and shoot outs in Wednesday’s exciting edition of The East River Derby. What is The East River Derby? It is the clash of NY’s soccer team the Cosmos, fresh off their trip to Havana, Cuba hosting the Bronx’s NYCFC, the team playing in Yankee Stadium that can’t decide on a team name.
Top NYCFC fans Bottom Borough Boys
Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium was buzzing at game time. The NYCFC fan did show up, they were loud, boisterous and active all game long, however, the Cosmos faithful blew the top off the stadium. I have been to thousands of games- Yankee, Shea, Citifield, Camden Yards, Giants Stadiums, from New York to Chicago; I have never heard a place as loud as Shuart Stadium on Hofstra’s campus. The only place that would be louder, I imagine is some 100,000 seat Big Ten Football Stadium like Michigan’s Big House. Wednesday had a barbeque type of feel to it. Simply amazing.
The raucous crowd quieted a moment when NYCFC went on the board first. NYCFC’s Striker Kwadwo Poku caught lightning twice, once in the 24th minute and once in the 57th minute with a pair of righteous right foots. But the resilient Cosmos answered with Leo Fernandes’ score in the 65th and Lucky Mkosana in the 90th. After another 30 minutes of play we were left deadlocked. Enter penalty kicks. Hunter Gorskie blasted a shot by the NYCFC keeper and sent the frenzied crowd home happy.
Raul looks good in blue
This was my second Cosmos game; first since the reboot. My last game was spend in my fathers lap cheering either Giorgio Chinaglia or the flashing video board. I’m not really sure, but then again I was two. I never realized the precision and discipline involved in playing. I was always into event soccer like the World Cup, or Copa American and things like that, but this was fun. I finally understand why the Brazilians call this the “Beautiful Game.”
Television does not do this game any justice. Live this game is fast. Time just flies. It might be the fastest 45 minutes in sport. The action is constant, the thrills are real. The entire two hours I spent in the stadium, a smile was firmly placed on my face. The Cosmos have proposed a privately funded stadium to be placed in Belmont Park. With the level of support shown Wednesday, I can’t understand why it hasn’t been done yet.
The Cosmos next home game is July 5th against the Indy Eleven.