Away matches without a car or a ride can be a bit fraught. The Trailways bus stop in Kingston is less than 100 yards from the stadium, and may leave or return at convenient times. Another option is taking Metro-North to Poughkeepsie, and from there a cab to Kingston. Many thanks to Five Points' Jose for the #CosmosCarPool ride home!
It was a lovely evening in Kingston. Weather was great, and an attentive crowd of 900 came out to support their local club. And watch them get clobbered by Our Boys in Gree...uh, Royal Blue.
At 1500-seat Dietz Stadium was everything the crowd needed for a great evening.
Along with the standard concessions was a food truck serving some tasty chicken. Keegan Ales, the local brewery, were onsite slinging pints of quality microbrews.
Stockade's successes speaks well to what you can do with a local club to make it part of a community. Lots of kids were running around, passing around balls and wearing their Stockade FC shirts; shaded picnic tables; quality brews, youth players doing soccer ball tricks. They did the May the Fourth Be With You thing, with some local fans playing along with stormtrooper masks. A moment of silence was perhaps called for to solemnize the passing of actor Peter Mayhew, but since it was said in Shyriiwook, few could understand it over the din of bad Disney-enabled Star Wars puns.
Importantly though, you see the local relationships at work. Kingston Mayor Steve Noble was on hand, in Stockade colors, to open up the 2019 season for the club and its fans. With those kind of relationships, the gravity that an owner like Dennis Crowley brings to a mid-state city like Kingston can help make things happen.
I noticed this handout going to that targeted audience of match attendees. Some of the businesses listed on this map posted it on their social media channels, which brought more eyes to the fact that not only was there a game going on, but that it was a Thing of Some Social Relevance if their favorite bookstore or bar were talking about it.
Other things that can happen when the mayor shows up to your season opening is that the city might purchase back the part of Dietz Stadium previously sold to the local department of education, as was in the local news this past weekend. Map handouts like this pave the way to a place where a small municipal stadium like Dietz can benefit from multi-million dollar public-private partnerships to renovate a public space at the heart of the town, as is currently reputed to be in the works. This is what making independent community-based local soccer work looks like; where it genuinely works for the club, its supporters and the community.
The outer perimeter was covered in signs for mom-and-pop local sponsors. Some were constructed for mobility, and brought front and center for the opening ceremony. Two commentators were in the press box to talk up the action, using MyCujoo to distribute the match online. MyCujoo has recently taken up a niche as a free streamer of lower-division sports matches. The Miami FC, and many other NPSL sides, use them to decent effect.
The Dutch Guard, Stockade FC's supporter group, were a kindly lot and shared some adult beverages with visiting Cosmopolitans prior to kickoff. The theme of solidarity in independent, local soccer is consistent across many groups. The Dutch Guard are no exception.
Or so we thought. We grieved for our loss of a simpler, kinder world when, to our horror, we learned their print propaganda wing had mercilessly dragged Cosmos supporters. The Dutch Guard coolly stood back, and avowed responsibility as they searched for weakness. This did not let this pass without retort. More on this later.
Of the match itself - you can still catch it - it was generally a one-sided affair. Stockade had energy, but also problems controlling and holding onto the ball. They exacerbated this later on in getting a little chippy. Stockade had a few chances, but the lion's share of respect is due to Stockade's keeper for keeping the scoring to two.
The starting XI for your New York Cosmos were:
The Cosmos looked smooth and had a quality attack, but nonetheless played a somewhat defensive game. Most 2018 matches ending in shutouts with 'Mos up three, four, even five. One wonders if they're planning a more conservative run this season.
In the 27th minute, Venegas put a controlled cross right into the box, and an unguarded Aaron Dennis headed the ball into the net.
Giuseppe Barone, shortly after coming on, performed a golazo of a chip from practically the centerline in the 69th minute. The keeper was not expecting a threat from so far away; he was stunned and out of position. It surely made him feel really bad.
The lonely away/visitor stands may have dwarfed the Five Points' away team, yet they were mighty. But they didn't come all at once. A large group, transporting drums, were delayed and did not make it in time for kickoff. There was song, and there was dance. There were stomps, and there were chants. There aren't always drums on the road, but something was missing.
Being a Cosmos supporter and a member of the Five Points is, among other things, an act of faith. Everyone has their own path as to how they got there, and why they stay. This Saturday's match was one such moment where some of that faith was validated.
Stockade FC's Dutch Guard makes much of defending the fence aka the stockade. There's tifo, a hashtag. There's even a t-shirt.
No one knew when reinforcements were arriving. And no one knows where it came from. All we know, all we know for sure, is that in our time of need we didn't need to take the stockade. A part of the stockade came to us.
This went on for ten minutes straight.
The cavalry did arrive in time to save the day. With the power of Stick (now named Gio) and Cross Island Crew combined, how could we possibly lose?
And lose we most certainly did not. Vamos Cosmos!
Hope to see more of newly-signed twelfth-man Gio the Stick at future matches!
Much appreciation for the Cosmos fans we spotted in the main stands making it all the way out for this away match, and special recognition to the Connecticut contingent who joined us in the supporters section. Knowing that there was an audience besides the players made a difference.
Lastly, thanks extended to the class act that is Keegan Ales Brewery, where supporters partook of their victory feast. Despite being sponsors for the local side, they treated us well, and paused the live show to thank us from the stage for making it out. If you're near Kingston, you cannot go wrong with stopping by.