New York City FC’s lack of a full-time stadium has further come under the spotlight after it emerged that the Major League Soccer team has been forced to stage a game later this month at the home of bitter rivals New York Red Bulls.
NYCFC will face Costa Rican club AD San Carlos at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, in the Concacaf Champions League on February 26, according to multiple reports.
The team had looked to play the game at its regular home venue Yankee Stadium, which is primarily the home of Major League Baseball’s New York Yankees, as well as Citi Field, the New York Mets’ ballpark. But neither venue was available.
Meanwhile, St John’s University’s Belson Stadium, where NYCFC played a US Open Cup game last summer, did not meet Concacaf’s minimum venue standards. The only options available were Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut, or Red Bull Arena, and NYCFC chose the latter.
This is not the first time that NYCFC has been forced to play games outside of Yankee Stadium due to scheduling issues with the Yankees, the team’s co-owners and primary tenants of Yankee Stadium.
In December, it was announced that NYCFC decided to move four regular season games to Citi Field in 2020. Dubbed “The Citi Field Series,” the matches will be on April 26, July 25, August 8, and September 26.
NYCFC has played two previous games at Citi Field. These were a 2-2 draw with Columbus Crew in the 2017 regular season finale, and a 2-1 loss to Toronto FC in the 2019 Eastern Conference semi-finals.
The team is now expected to play in four different venues over the course of this season: Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Red Bull Arena, and Belson Stadium.
Stadium issues in MLS are hardly new. Most recently, MLS and expansion team Nashville SC have publicly lashed out at Nashville Mayor John Cooper over ongoing delays to the club’s planned new stadium at Fairgrounds Nashville.