Examining rivals of the New York Cosmos, both old and new

Mike Stobe

Maybe hate is a strong word, but who are you unlikely to like?

The great thing with the Cosmos being a classic NASL franchise is that there are some clubs that our fans will develop a rivalry with quite naturally. When the NASL reformed several years ago, they brought back some of the original clubs, and that helped to attract original NASL fans while getting the younger supporters into the ethos of the sport. With that in mind, let's take a look at a few of the clubs who have been rivals since the days of Pele, Beckenbauer, and Chinaglia, as well as some of the new clubs who Cosmos fans aren't all that likely to love.

Historical NASL Rivals

Atlanta Silverbacks - The Silverbacks are the other, dare we call them, glamour club in the league. Eric Wyanlda and the club have a weird power structure, and the threat of another club coming into the city of Atlanta to join MLS. They've already been linked with a name player in Fredy Adu, just as the Cosmos were even thought Erik Stover has shot that down.

We played against them in the Soccer Bowl last year, defeating them 1-0 on a Marcos Senna free kick. The spring champions' squad returns largely intact, and will likely be a real contender for postseason play in 2014.

Tampa Bay Rowdies -  Classic derby, or rivalry between these two. They played so much during the old days, that Google kicks up many pictures of the old match ups, and Ebay sells a lot of pictures of the match ups. Tampa has a history, and now they have a bit more spending money due to finding a sponsor for the front of their shirts.

Like Atlanta, Tampa returns a squad that will be very similar to the one that closed out the 2013 season. That squad could well have wound up taking the fall championship, and were in a great position to do just that before the Cosmos came back from 3-1 down at Hofstra to win 4-3 in stunning fashion.

Fort Lauderdale Strikers - One of the other classic clubs, New York's first game back in the NASL was a victory over the Strikers.. They are out there, really not a hated club by any stretch of the imagination, but were a good team in their existence. They had Gordon Banks, and George Best for a while. Now, they feature a big, physical backline that could be among the league's best units.

NASL New Boys

San Antonio Scorpions - The Scorpions have only been around since 2012, but already they're turning into one of the elite clubs in the NASL. They're the only team in the league that constantly puts up attendance figures which rival New York's, and they've done a fairly nice job in poaching some of the top talent from other clubs throughout the league.

San Antonio and the Cosmos will also have a connection this season, as Hans Denissen spent the past two seasons playing in Texas. This could well be one of the Cosmos' primary rivals for the title this season.

Minnesota United - Minnesota has been one of the league's stronger teams since it reformed. They won the title in 2011 before finishing runners up in 2012, and feature one of the leagues most difficult players to deal with in center forward Pablo Campos. This offseason saw them invest in their defensive unit, and as long as Campos stays healthy, they will certainly be a club to watch.

Around Town

NYC FC - Yeah I know they aren't an actual club right now, but go with me on this. Don Garber, who has done a lot of good for the sport, wanted a club in NYC that had a global reach, and represented the city. Hello, who has done that for the last well almost 40 years? That's right, the Cosmos.

The Cosmos and MLS had very different views on quite a few issues though, and the league seemed intent on extracting the largest franchise fee possible instead of doing whatever it took to add the Cosmos' name. Whether or not that decision was a wise one is something we'll need to wait to find out, as NYC FC doesn't begin play until 2015.

RBNY - There's a chance in the Open Cup that the two could play. Frankly, I think just about every footie fan in NYC has their fingers crossed that it happens. Spoken as a fan of MLS, I know how much of a Napoleon complex that franchise and it's fans have against the Cosmos. Try as they might, they're always trying to be the Cosmos without saying it.

Where the Cosmos have a rich history of success, Red Bull (previously the MetroStars) have a history full of the opposite. The Supporters' Shield was the club's first silverware (they were an original MLS franchise), and ironically, it came days after the Cosmos capped off a 2013 fall championship trophy.

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