When The Cosmos added West German World Cup star Franz Bechenbauer last month to a team that included such stars as Pele and Giorgio Chinaglia, soccer people predicted that the New York team would immediately dominate its opposition in the North American Soccer League.
And, following a disappointing 4-2 loss to Tampa Bay in Beckenbauer's debut, The Cosmos have done just that, both on the field and at the gate.
They have won six of their last seven games to boost their Eastern Division-leading record to 11-16 for 100 points, while out-scoring their opponents in those contests by a combined 21-7.
Meanwhile, they have been breaking NASL attendance marks. In their last two home contests in Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., they drew a NASL record 62.394 for a game against Tampa Bay and 57,191 last Sunday when Pele had his third three-goal game of the season in a 5-2 rout of Los Angeles.
The two-game total moved The Cosmos past the Minnesota Kick and into the league lead in home attendance. The franchise is now averaging 32,243 fans per game compared with 29,243 for Minnesota.
Also, with a season attendance of 290,185 for nine home games. The Cosmos have broken Seattle's attendance record of 285,944 in 12 dates last season.
The Cosmos and Kicks are not the only teams attracting big crowds. League attendance thus far is up 31 per cent from last season or an average of 13,226 fans per game, compared with 10,068 a game at this point last year.
Attendance is expected to climb over the 2 million mark this weekend, putting the league roughtly 35 games ahead of tts 1976 pace.
Eight of the 18 NASL teams are averaging more than 10,000 fans, with the Washington Diplomats currently eighth on the list - 11,503 fans per contest.