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The Magic Of Meadowlands

The huge crowd at the Meadowlands Sunday for the USA's 0-0 tie with Argentina had Frank Giase contemplating all the great soccer occasions the stadium has hosted as its demolition date nears. "Giants Stadium has been a Mecca of soccer for the past three decades," he writes, and says that to the people of New Jersey it's been "a shrine, a building visible to millions on the highways or flying into Newark Liberty International Airport each day."

Area native and U.S. coach Bob Bradley remembered coming to "all the Cosmos games, so as a kid growing up in this area it was an amazing thing to see Pele and Beckenbauer and Chinaglia, and then when other teams came in, Cruyff and Neeskens and on and on and on." For Bradley, such occasions established "a sense of what the bigger game was."

Bradley experienced life here as coach of the New York MLS franchise (at that time, the MetroStars) between 2003 and 2005, tasked with turning around a team dogged by poor crowds and the history of the Cosmos. In his first two years, says Giase, he achieved "good drafts and solid play. Then in 2005, MetroStars President and General Manager Alexi Lalas, for reasons that seemed more personal than practical, fired Bradley, and the team has been in a downward spiral ever since." But for Bradley it was nice to return at the weekend "and see that type of atmosphere for our national team."

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