Rand: United coach Lagos has a soccer story come full circle

  • Updated: October 4, 2013 - 6:35 AM

Manny Lagos was 7 years old in 1978 when the Minnesota Kicks routed the New York Cosmos 9-2 at Metropolitan Stadium in front of nearly 46,000 fans.

“Those moments when you are young are the moments you look back on,” he said. “The Kicks and Cosmos and NASL inspired me.”

Now 35 years later, things have come full circle. Lagos is coaching Minnesota United FC, which plays in the revived North American Soccer League. The re-branded Cosmos — who once boasted all-time great Pele on their roster — joined the league this year. On Saturday, Minnesota will play host to the Cosmos at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

The crowd might be closer to one-tenth of what Lagos remembers from 1978, but the NASL doesn’t mind the slow-and-steady approach.

“It’s getting better and brighter, and I hope it brings attention to all the things we’re doing by bringing a brand like the Cosmos to play,” Lagos said. “Right now the explosion maybe isn’t happening as fast, but it’s happening at a much more planned, concise, fan-approached and community-approached way.”

The key is capturing the imagination of new fans — as well as the generation that still remembers the old Kicks. Brian Kallman was an infant in 1984 when the Cosmos played the Minnesota Strikers, a one-year NASL incarnation that quickly fizzled. But he has been made keenly aware of the state’s soccer history.

“It’s crazy because when I talk to people in the neighborhood, they know I play for the pro soccer team here but they still talk about the Kicks,” said Kallman, a former Woodbury High standout and current United defender. “They still talk about those games and how fun the tailgating was.”

Lagos’ father, Buzz, helped bring the legacy of soccer back to Minnesota as the driving force behind and head coach of the Thunder from 1990-2005.

Various incarnations of outdoor teams since have built a bridge to United FC — and an important match against a foe that is all at once old and new.

“We’re a market that is unique and special,” Manny Lagos said. “We should expect to have as high a level of soccer as we can.”

michael rand

  • related content

  • Manny Lagos

  • The Cosmos’ visit to the Twin Cities conjures memories of the mid-’70s United States, when Joe Namath was a splashy figure in a sport growing in popularity and when Pele played the same role for a sport grasping for popularity.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Wild finish out the hockey season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close