The 2016 season saw the Eddies return to post season play for the first time since 2011 (when six of the eight NASL clubs made the playoffs). Following the club’s preseason in Scotland, Edmonton would go on to finish third in the Spring, Fall, and combined standings, allowing a league best 21 goals through both seasons. The Eddies would lose to Indy Eleven in the first round of the NASL playoffs.
We Want The Cup 5 Points Tifo [Photo: Eytan Calderon/TICC]
Following a successful inaugural season which saw the Cosmos win the NASL Fall Season and ensuing Soccer Bowl, plenty of intrigue and questions continued to surround the Cosmos and their future. The club looked to build on their successful first stint, but something else had come out involving the future of the club; they were staying in the NASL for the long run.
Miami’s inaugural season was a tale of two halves. Coming into 2016 the hype train was running at full speed with Miami building their team around internationally experienced talents Matuzalem, Wilson Palacios, and Dario Cvitanich. Play on the field would dictate differently however, as Miami would take dead last in their inaugural season.
“How ’bout them Carolina RailHawks?!” The last year of the RailHawk was full of ups and downs for the new look North Carolina FC. After staying local for the preseason and playing mostly neighboring universities and USL sides (along with Toluca of Liga MX), Carolina started the 2016 Spring by winning their first four league contests. The club’s first loss would come on their visit to Hofstra in a match that would end with the Cosmos in front, 1-0. The RailHawks would not win again and spiral down the standings over the last five weeks, finishing the Spring in seventh place.
While the Deltas didn’t play in the NASL 2016 season, their presence and influence was vital to the return of the NASL for a new year. Thanks to club owner Brian Helmick and his Silicon Valley connections, owners and teams around the NASL were able to get on the same page and move forward with promise following a tumultuous off-season. Since their announcement, Deltas have spent time trying to establish a foothold to build on and securing a fan base for the upcoming season.
The team has been vocal about their plan to work openly and honestly with its fanbase, as well as with other teams around the country, regardless of their league. A great example of this can be noted with the club’s first ever open tryout. Not only did they make the cost of it very feasible for the individuals who participated, they also invited other pro teams in the area to come and scout players as well, at no cost to the clubs.
The 5 Points 2016 Open Cup tifo [Photo: Eytan Calderon/TICC]
The Cup. The Lamar Hunt United States Open Cup to be exact. It’s the longest ongoing knockout competition in American soccer and one of the longest running association football tournaments in the world. It’s March Madness for soccer, on steroids. It pits teams from across the nation, both amateur and professional, in an extensive knockout tournament that spans from April until September every year, with qualifying taking place for amateur clubs well before then.
David Ochieng at the team’s media practice [Photo: Steve Hamlin/TICC]
Things seem to be coming together well for the Cosmos as the club prepares to head to Bermuda for the second leg of their preseason tour. In the first leg, the club won all three of their friendlies in the Dominican Republic but, more importantly, the team seemed to improve from match to match. As it stands, the Cosmos roster has twenty players under contract, but only two center backs.
Things are finally taking shape for the Cosmos as the clock ticks towards the March 25 kickoff for the 2017 NASL Spring Season. As it stands, the Cosmos roster has 18 players under contract, but rumors once again have been swirling around the club. Three trialists were present at the open practice for media, and Amauri was officially announced at the team’s press conference. The club is still expected to have 20 players signed before their preseason trip to the Dominican Republic, and Gio hinted at more signings coming soon, including the possibility of another former player.
As the month of January comes to a close, the Cosmos have taken large strides forward towards the 2017 season since Rocco B. Commisso took over the club on the 10th. The club has made 15 player signings, most of whom are familiar faces and key pieces who helped the Cosmos win back-to-back NASL Championships. The club also officially announced a move to MCU Park for the upcoming year. While all of the news has caused a sense of optimism about the club’s future, there are still some questions that will need to be answered before the ball first rolls in the Spring Season, especially due to the few attacking pieces that have signed with the team.