Cosmos’s fall-season debut announcement wasn’t a PR dream By Steven Sandor Posted on December 3, 2012 1 0 548 Share on Facebook Share on Twitter At the same time as the MLS Cup was awarded, the New York Cosmos released its expansion plan for the 2013 NASL season. The team will not begin play until the second half of 2013, an option which was created when the league decided that it would change formats for next season. The NASL will be an eight-team league in the spring season, and a nine-team league in the summer-fall campaign. Under the new format, the winners of the halves will meet in the Soccer Bowl. If the same team wins both halves, then the Soccer Bowl opposition will be the team with the best cumulative record over both halves. The winner of the first half will host the game, so we know that the Soccer Bowl, cannot be played at Hofstra University, which is where the Cosmos is set to play in 2013. Cosmos COO Erik Stover said in a release issued by the team: “We’ve said from the beginning that when we returned to the field, we would do it in the right way. This allows us the time we need to build our staff and operational capabilities in a professional manner. But most importantly, especially for our loyal fans, it gives us the necessary time to put a club on the field they can be proud of.” But for NASL fans (and NASL detractors, too) there are two things about the announcement that stick out. 1) The timing. Doing it at the same time that David Beckham was playing his last Los Angeles Galaxy match and winning MLS Cup gives off the feeling that the Cosmos wanted this news to be as buried as it could possibly be on the North American soccer landscape. Press announcements are usually timed to be released so they will have the desired effect. And, in this case, the effect was to bury the story. 2) Cynics will no doubt wonder if the NASL split season was proposed with the Cosmos in mind. As soon as the new formula was announced, the rumour that the Cosmos would join the league only in time for the second 2013 session was rampant. And, even though FC Edmonton owner Tom Fath has openly endorsed the new split season as being better for his club — there will be those who wonder if the format was introduced to help speed the Cosmos’s entry into the league. One thing is certain: The announcement wasn’t handled well. It felt like the Cosmos was trying to keep it a secret. And that’s not a good sign for a team making its first steps into NASL.