April 24, 2014
If Cosmos are selected to host May 28 Open Cup match, it would be at St. John's
By Michael Lewis
|Erik Stover: "We view the Cosmos as an organization that wins trophies. So any chance that you have to win trophies is extremely important. We like the idea of testing ourselves against competition."
Photo courtesy of the Cosmos
If the New York Cosmos are selected to host a third-round game of the Lamar Hunt/U.S. Open Cup on May 24, they would play it at St. John's University and not at their home field at Hofstra University.
In an interview with BigAppleSoccer.com Tuesday afternoon, Cosmos Chief Operating Officer Erik Stover said that Belson Stadium on the Queens campus would be the stadium if the North American Soccer League defending champions were selected by U.S. Soccer to host a third-round game.
Stover said James M. Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y., the Cosmos' home since they returned to competitive soccer last August, was not available on that date.
The Cosmos most likely would play an amateur team or a side from the National Premier Soccer League or USL PRO in that round.
If the Cosmos win that third-round encounter, they might have to look elsewhere for a stadium for the fourth round, in which games must be played from June 10-18. The reason why there is flexibility for fourth round matches is because the NASL will be between its spring and fall seasons and Major League Soccer will be shut down for the first two weeks of the World Cup.
"There are three potential locks -- Tuesday-Wednesday, Saturday-Sunday, Tuesday-Wednesday," Stover said.
If the Cosmos advance to the fourth round and beyond, they face further issues of Shuart's availability. There aren't many medium-sized stadiums on Long Island. One possible site for latter round games could be the Stony Brook University football stadium.
June 24-25 is the fifth round, July 8-9 is the quarterfinals and Aug. 12-13 is set for the semifinals. The Open Cup final would be played on Sept. 30-Oct. 1.
The Cosmos would love to meet an MLS team in the competition to prove itself. Winning the cup would certainly enhance the second division NASL's credibility. But Stover wasn't looking that far.
"First we have to win the first round," Stover said. "We can't be talking about having success.
"We've built this team and we've been playing for about nine months now. And this would be a good test whatever round we could advance to. We view the Cosmos as an organization that wins trophies. So any chance that you have to win trophies is extremely important. We like the idea of testing ourselves against competition."
The Cosmos also are looking into the possibility of hosting exhibition matches and international teams at Shuart, but they appear to have a narrow window.
"We're working on a few things," Stover said. "Stadium availability is a challenge. We can't schedule anything on or around the Open Cup, either. so, it's an added level of complexity. You've got World Cup, which is a challenge. You've got the regular season and you've the Open Cup. So finding the right date is proving to be difficult. But we do have a few things on the burner right now."