Mayor Marion Barry is flying to New York today to make a bid for the North American Soccer League's championship game, the Soccer Bowl, to be played in Washington's RFK Stadium in 1980.
Barry's first goal, he said yesterday, will be to get NASL owners to delay until the October league meeting Monday's scheduled vote on the Soccer Bowl site next year. Barry wants the extra time to put together a presentation from the District.
The owners will be in New York today to also attend Soccer Bowl '79, which will be notable for the absence of the two-time defending champion Cosmos. The game, pitting the Vancouver Whitecaps against the Tampa Bay Rowdies, can be seen on WJLA-TV-7 at 2 p.m.
"There has been some receptivity" to Washington hosting the Soccer Bowl in 1980, Barry said. "We think we have six teams (of the 24) definite for it and others are wavering.
"We're on their agenda Sunday," the mayor said. "We just haven't had the opportunity to put a full package together. There are some deep commitments to make, and that we're prepared to do.
Why are we interested? We need to have more sports activity at the
"Why are we interested? We need to have more sports activity at the stadium. It's an economic generator to have people come here. And it would be nice to have it televised from D.C."
NASL Commissioner Phil Woosnam said earlier this week that more than 60,000 tickets had been sold for today's game. But wtih the Cosmos not playing, league officials are concerned that no-shows will keep the crowd down.
Last year in Giants Stadium, the game drew 75,000. That was the reason the league returned the game to New Jersey this season.
The Soccer Bowl will be played elsewhere next year, and Barry is optimistic that there is enough interest in soccer in this area that a championship contest in RFK Stadium would draw well.
But the league is likely to award the game to one of the bidding cities that have averaged more than 20,000 fans a game during the regular season. They are Tampa Bay and Vancouver. Detroit, because of its Silverdome, is a dark horse in the bidding.
However, Cosmos or no Cosmos, Soccer Bowl '79 will be played today.
The Whitecaps surprised the two-time defending league champion Cosmos last Saturday by winning the tie breaking minigame of their series, 1-0, in a shootout.
Thus, kicking and screaming that they had been treated unfairly, the Cosmos were sent to bed for 1979 without their crown.
Tampa Bay meekly went down to defeat to the Cosmos in last year's Soccer Bowl, 3-1.
But having added the league's leading scorer, Oscar Fabbiani, to their lineup and having a healthy Rodney Marsh -- playing his last NASL game before retiring -- the American Conference champion Rowdies have a lot of firepower and will severely test goalkeeper Phil Parkes, the hero of the Cosmos series.