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June 13, 1978 – Minnesota Kicks vs. New York Cosmos

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Minnesota Kicks vs. New York Cosmos
June 13, 1978
Metropolitan Stadium
Attendance: 46,370

North American Soccer League Programs
112 pages

 

This June 1978 showdown between the Minnesota Kicks and the New York Cosmos featured two clubs that were the elite of the North American Soccer League by every standard of the day.

The glamour of the late 1970’s Cosmos is still the stuff of legend today among American soccer fans over the age of forty.  Minneapolis Tribune sportswriter Allan Hoibert called them “the world’s most expensive team” at the time and it was true – they were a global super team decades before Saudi oil sheiks and Russian oligarchs brought that concept to The Continent.

Nearly forgotten today, by contrast, was the tremendous popularity of the Minnesota Kicks (1976-1981).  Maybe that brazenly dumb name has cost the team some of its historical luster. Maybe it’s because the Kicks’ moment in Minnesota was so short – by 1980 Kicks attendance was down 45% from its 1977 peak and by November 1981 the club was out of business, crashed into the rocks by new ownership from overseas during their final campaign.

1978 Minnesota KicksBut back in June 1978, the club was popular and a winner.  From the time the Kicks entered the league in 1976 to June 1978, Minnesota’s 41-23 regular season record was second only to the Cosmos (43-21).  The Kicks carried a 13-game home winning streak at Metropolitan Stadium into this June 13, 1978 contest dating back to the 1977 season and had never lost at home by more than a single goal during their two-and-a-half year existence.  The Kicks’ home field advantage was fueled by big crowds of supporters, fueled on brats and beers from the club’s thriving tailgating culture.  During 1977, the Kicks’ average attendance of 32,775 was second only to the Cosmos, who averaged 34,142 in their first season at Giants Stadium.

Both sides were outstanding in 1978.  The Kicks came in at 10-4 (7-0 at home) while the Cosmos were a league-best 12-2.  The teams boasted the league’s top two scorers in Giorgio Chinaglia for New York (17 goals, 7 assists in 14 matches) and Alan Willey for Minnesota (14 goals, 0 assistants in 14 matches).  Neither would add to their totals in this match, although it was a high scoring affair.

Despite the fact that it was a Tuesday night, the match set a new Kicks regular season attendance record with 46,370 fans jamming into Metropolitan Stadium.  Steve Hunt got the Cosmos on the board first in the 13th minute and the New Yorkers outshot Minnesota 15-7 in the first half, but the Kicks managed to take a 2-1 lead into the break, thanks to a 16th minute penalty conversion by Englishman Charlie George and a 24th minute goal from Ron Futcher.

1978 Minnesota KicksThe Cosmos poured it on during the second half, with their expensive international signings getting in on the action.  English striker Dennis Tueart put a shot past Kicks goalkeeper Geoff Barnett to tie the match in the 68th minute.  Carlos Alberto, captain of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup championship team, scored his first goal as a Cosmos in the 70th minute to put New York up 3-2.  Franz Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany’s 1974 World Cup champions, added the coup de grace in the 87 minute as the Cosmos took a 4-2 victory on the road.

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All six goals scored in this high scoring match were notched by foreign imports.  The Cosmos, of course, had stars from all over the world.  The Kicks, like many NASL franchises, were loaded with Englishmen and Scots – thirteen of Minnesota’s twenty-five active players for this match were from the UK.

The evening’s KICK MAGAZINE game program pictured on the the NASL’s few American-born stars – Kyle Rote Jr. of the Dallas Tornado, who had some notoriety outside of the niche world of soccer thanks to his participation in ABC Sports’ Superstars competitions during the 1970’s.  From 1975 to 1984, all NASL teams sold some variation of KICK MAGAZINE, which was a mix of national and local content.  The cover stories and artwork were produced nationally, so it was not uncommon to see a player featured on the match program even though his team wasn’t involved in that particular match.

 

==Downloads==

Minnesota Kicks vs. New York Cosmos Game Notes – June 13, 1978

New York Cosmos June 1978 Travel Itinerary to Minnesota  (“Tea & Toast & Honey” – 4:00 PM sharp!)

 

==Links==

New York Cosmos Home Page

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