To which the American transfer policies contributed gravely as well: they were so loose, a player often appeared in few clubs in a singular season. Eusebio was like that, for instance – including a brief return to Portugal, where he still managed to play 12 matches for Beira Mar before the year ended.
Dreams coming true… Chinaglia and Pele. So many players dreamed to play along with the King, but for Chinaglia it became reality.
Well, Cosmos looked like sure champions with this squad.
Here are the champions. One player was seemingly enough to win the championship – it looks like so, for the rest are entirely unknown. As the name suggests, the Canadian club had ethnic origins, well preserved in the making of the squad. The mystery, however, is who was Canadian player, even by naturalization, and who was foreign import: most players are clearly ethnic Croatians, but since not a single name rings any bell, they were recruited from the Croatian community in Toronto; not imported from Yugoslavia. The German Wolfgang Suhnholz was also likely naturalized Canadian and not Bundesliga import. Kapetanovic was voted NASL coach of the year, but he too seems naturalized Canadian. Most likely only Eusebio and Evair were ‘true’ imports. It looks like better work was done in Toronto than in New York and elsewhere: the squad is not rag-tag collection of player, but more carefully build from local guys. It was a team, to which Eusebio (who did not stay with Metros-Croatia after winning the title) added class and experience. The winners confirmed old truism: names do not win; teams do. Unfortunately, the increasing importation of foreigners by other clubs left no chance for these guys to repeat their success: they were really small fry. The policies of NASL discouraged team building and perhaps this was the biggest reason for collapse of the league: why trying to teach some Grnja play decent football if you can get Beckenbauer? Oh, well, New York Cosmos had to sulk in 1976 and Eusebio added one more title to his collection.
The season ended optimistically, though. Big names were gathering in the league, Pele mingled with the famous businessmen, rock and film stars, NASL looked stable with 20 clubs second year in row. May be the next year NASl will edge at least ice-hockey and become the forth important American sport? Ah, skies were the limit… booze was limitless for Bestie.