5 Points Press, This is Cosmos Country Blog — June 25, 2013 at 8:17 am

Some Things about the Cosmos Copa Qualifiers

Who's going to win it all? (Image Credit: New York Cosmos)

Who’s going to win it all? (Image Credit: New York Cosmos)

New York, NY - The Cosmos Copa qualifiers took place this past weekend. With the action taking place at Randall’s Island, 28 teams competed for the final spots of the tournament.  Action kicks off on Saturday, July 13th and we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

The eight teams who qualified this past weekend were NYC Argentina, NYC Croatia, NYC El Salvador, NYC Uruguay, NYC Ivory Coast, NYC France, NYC Italy and NYC Gambia. As a result, they join the eight teams who qualified from last year’s Cosmos Copa. The teams of NYC Bolivia, NYC Colombia, NYC Greece, NYC Jamaica, NYC Poland, NYC Senegal, NYC United States and the defending champions, NYC Haiti.

On Monday night, the New York Cosmos hosted their official Cosmos Copa draw over at E&E Grill Houselocated at 233 West 49th Street. Former Cosmos goalkeeper Shep Messing was the emcee and with the assistance of Cosmos midfielder Dane Murphy, the groups were rounded out.

If I learned one thing about the Cosmos Copa is that there’s no such thing as an easy group. Throw in the grueling schedule each team is faced, anything can happen following the first match. From tempers flaring to conspiracy theories about the officiating to clear cut beautiful soccer, it’s never a dull moment.

Before providing you a breakdown of each group, here’s some of the things I observed about this weekend’s tournament.

The Cosmos Copa Staff: From arriving early in order to set to breaking down following the last match, the Cosmos Copa Staff day is stacked and packed. The work they do is very hands on as they’re trying to run the tournament smoothly. Kudos to them for their hard work.

NYC Albania: How the mighty have fallen. Shame on you NYC Albania for committing the cardinal sin by making the choice of forfeiting your final match against NYC Peru. I expected better from the first-ever Cosmos Copa City Champions. I really hope they suffer the fate NYC Argentina did in 2009 when they were banned from the tournament for an entire year for failing to arrive for their third place match against NYC Cyprus.

Tommy Smyth: Always a pleasure of seeing Tommy Smyth of ESPN at the Copa. Anytime Ireland has a match, he’s always been there. He’s such a nice guy and a true ambassador of the Cosmos Copa.

Giovanni Savarese: For as long as I’ve covered the Cosmos Copa, I’ve always expected to see Gio at some point. On Saturday, he didn’t disappoint as he watched several matches while interacting and taking photos with spectators who recognized him.

Team Administrators: Fielding a Copa team is one of the most difficult thing anyone can do. From the application process to the tryouts and paperwork, the team representatives work hard. Between the fundraisers and their efforts of creating an awareness, it’s a thankless job with zero perks.

The Coin Toss from Hell: In all my years of covering live soccer matches, nothing was ever more heartbreaking than NYC Chile failure to advance due to a coin toss loss to NYC Ivory Coast. For a hard fought contest to conclude in a coin toss seemed rather unfair but to be clear, it’s part of the guidelines. Overall, there’s nothing to contest.

Best Teams from the Qualifiers: I know I’m going to hear it but the best teams from this past weekend’s qualifiers were NYC Argentina, NYC El Salvador, NYC Gambia and NYC Uruguay.

The Supporters: Passion, Commitment, Conversation and Food… nuff said.

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