The NASL’s superstar tsunami finally hit the US capital in 1980, when the Dips signed Cruyff. He had been wooed by the Cosmos for years and had even played a few exhibition games with the New Yorkers alongside Pelé, but he never joined them full-time.
Aged 32 he moved from the LA Aztecs to play for the 'Dips' and played the whole 1980 campaign for them, even as the team was facing dire financial trouble at the time.
That season they started getting 55,000 capacity crowds as Cruyff wowed the league.
“He was like a conductor, and we were his orchestra,” says team-mate Marcantonio. “He wasn’t like Pelé coming over—not being the player people remember. Cruyff could still do it all. There was incredible pressure on him not to ruin his reputation. He was aware people couldn’t do the things he could do. But he was the ultimate team guy. The highlight of my career was sharing a field with him.”