I remember watching this game on Sportsvision in my rec room as a 19 year old. I was so excited to see my beloved Sting put the Bully Beatdown on the Cosmos in Giants Stadium. Even Robert Meschbach scored!!!! What I didn’t quite grasp at the time was how clearly this game signaled that the Cosmos and the NASL were very much on their last fumes. I started following soccer in 1982, the year after the Sting won their first Soccer Bowl, so I had never known anything other than contraction, franchise relocation, and dispersal drafts.
The Sting had always enjoyed a good rivalry with the Cosmos. I’m pretty sure that Chicago had a better win-loss percentage against the Cosmos than any other team that had ever been in the league. But this was too easy. With a heat wave baking the Giants Stadium carpet to 130 degrees (literally breaking the on-field thermometer) the idea of a Cosmos team going down 5-0 at home in front of an empty stadium pretty much says it all. Dancing on my coach as the fifth goal went in, I might as well have been dancing on the league’s grave. The Cosmos were going out not with a bang, but a whimper. And the remaining eight teams would follow them out the door a few months later.
But hey… 31 years later. We’ve all moved on, so let’s take a look back