MLS Unveiled, 1995
The original New York #2
May 22, 2013

So, there will be a new MLS franchise in New York City. You might have heard. The reaction of RBNY fans has been all over the map: from welcoming a new rival to outright hate to fear for their franchise's existence. If anything, RBNY has no choice but up its game on and off the field, doesn't it?

Don Garber spoke how MLS has worked 18 years to get that second New York team. What the esteemed commissioner is forgetting is that originally MLS was supposed to have two New York teams... well, one in New York and one in New Jersey.

In June of 1994, when MLS was originally announced, seven franchises were granted. They were: Los Angeles, Boston, Washington, Columbus, San Jose, New Jersey and New York. The New Jersey one was to play at Giants Stadium. The New York one, at an undetermined spot on Long Island.

Five more franchises were supposed to be named in August, but the league had a lot of trouble finding investors. "We may have to go without Long Island the first couple of years," US Soccer president Alan Rothenberg said. "The big problem with Long Island is finding a place to play until a stadium is built." The New York Times reported that "the league is looking for an investor to rebuild Hofstra Stadium in Hempstead, L.I., at a cost of $2 million, but no such investor has emerged."

They couldn't, so, in November of 1994, twelve teams were reduced to ten, and the league pushed its start back a year to 1996. "The Long Island franchise will not be among the starters and may not begin until 1998," the Times wrote. As a result, the New Jersey franchise became the de facto New York one, leading to the very cumbersome "New York / New Jersey MetroStars" monicker (shortened to the lovely "MetroStars" before the 1998 season). Of course, in 1998, the league expanded not to Long Island, but to Chicago and Miami. New York #2 died before ever existing.

Also in November, John Kludge was announced as the owner of the NY/NJ franchise, and Charlie Stillitano as the GM. "We want to establish a club like AC Milan," he said.

It's been going on for longer than 18 years...

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