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August 10, 1980 – New York United vs. Ecuador

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Clodoaldo New York UnitedNew York United vs. Ecuador
International Friendly Match
August 10, 1980
Shea Stadium
Attendance: 11,332

American Soccer League Programs
4 Pages


A great find this week via longtime New York-area soccer promoter & journalist Charles Cuttone.  This packet of programs and press materials comes from an August 1980 challenge match between New York United of the American Soccer League and the National Team of Ecuador.

New York United in 1980 was a lower-division side with a new owner and grand aspirations.  Gas station operator Jim Sorentino bought the ASL’s New York Apollo in 1980 and moved the club from its long-time home on Long Island to Shea Stadium, cavernous home of the New York Jets and Mets.  United’s 15 appearances in the summer of 1980 marked the first time pro soccer was played inside the city limits since the New York Cosmos played one season at Yankee Stadium in 1976.

Sorrentino seemingly tried to rip a page from the playbook of the free-spending Cosmos.  The Cosmos famously signed Pele to an historic contract in 1975. Sorrentino signed Pele’s Santos teammate and fellow Brazilian World Cup hero Clodoaldo to play for United in 1980. United signed a big name coach in former Queens Park Rangers star Rodney Marsh (whom Sorrentino immediately alienated – Marsh had resigned by the time this late-season match came around). In October of 1980, United would undertake an extensive tour through Central America and the Carribbean. It was the kind of thing the Cosmos did every fall, but it was virtually unheard of for an American 2nd Division club at the time.

The difference was that the Cosmos still drew crowds of 40,000+ to Giants Stadium in the summer of 1980.  United were lucky to draw a couple thousand at Shea.

Charles Cuttone – United Director of Public Relations 1980

About a week out there had been very few tickets sold, and little buzz about the game. I convinced Jimmy Sorentino to give us an advertising budget. We spent 10K in a week in New York newspapers and I even bought time on the New York Cosmos radio broadcasts. The phones started ringing, tickets started moving and we drew that big crowd.

Press accounts put the crowd at 11,332 and claimed it was the 3rd largest crowd to ever watch a pro soccer match in New York City.  The Ecuadorians put United put under siege for much of the match, but the hosts managed to keep it close.  The lone goal was a 51st minute strike by Ecuador midfielder Jorge Valdez.

Charles Cuttone

I went in to the United offices on Tuesday after the game. The owner showed us the ledger sheet with a $10,000 loss on the game, said that was the money spent on advertising, and fired us. I came back a couple of months later as a favor to the GM to help with the Central American tour. I think <Sorrentino> ended up owning the team for less than a year.

United played one more season in 1981 and then folded quietly. The team is all but forgotten today, lacking even the most basic credential of the digital age – a Wikipedia page.



August 10, 1980 New York United vs. National Team of Ecuador Program

August 10, 1980 New York United vs. National Team of Ecuador Game Notes



New York United Home Page

More ASL International Friendlies


Written by AC

November 25th, 2015 at 10:05 pm

1980-1981 New York United

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New York United ProgramAmerican Soccer League (1980-1981)

Born: 1980 – The New York Apollo are re-branded as New York United
Folded: Postseason 1981


Team Colors:


ASL Championships: None


New York United were a men’s 2nd Division soccer club that played in the American Soccer League in 1980 and 1981.  The club previously played in Long Island from 1973 until 1979 where it was known as New York Apollo.  New ownership bought the team in 1980 and tried to make a splash by signing former Manchester City star Rodney Marsh as Manager and moving into Shea Stadium in Queens.

United was successful on the field in 1980, posting a 17-11 mark and making the ASL playoffs.  This despite the fact that Marsh resigned midway through the season in a dispute with management. United fell to the Pennsylvania Stoners in the semi-final round.

At the box office though, the team was a bust. Tiny crowds at Shea led the team to cut costs and move into run-down Downing Stadium on Randall’s Island for the 1981 season.  Marsh left the team to coach the rival Carolina Lightnin’.  The team re-organized under new coach Jimmy McGeough, who had previously managed the team during the Apollo era.  Under McGeough, United posted a league best 19-5-4 record in 1981.  That should have earned United home field attendance for the playoffs.  But the team’s dismal fan support in New York led the ASL to move the September 18th, 1981 championship match to American League Memorial Stadium in Charlotte, home of Marsh’s Carolina Lightnin’.

Before a league-record crowd of 20,163, United’s Solomon Hilton gave the visitors a 1-0 lead in the 64th minute.  But Carolina equalized in the 69th minute and the Lightnin’ snatched the game away in the 2nd overtime period to seal the ASL crown.  This turned out to be the final match that United every played as the club folded during the offseason that followed. The ASL went out of business two years later following the 1983 season.


New York United Shop

American Soccer League Logo T-Shirt by Ultras

Shea Stadium Retro T-Shirt by Throwback Max


New York United Memorabilia



1980 New York United Media Guide

May 13, 1980 New York United Press Release – “United to Open at Shea on Sunday!”

August 10, 1980 New York United vs. National Team of Ecuador Program

October 1980 New York United Central American Tour Press Releases



American Soccer League Media Guides

American Soccer League Programs


Written by AC

November 15th, 2015 at 6:11 pm


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