By Michael Lewis
The Yankees’ success in the postseason has had some big ramifications for New York City FC.
The team has been forced to move its regular-season finale vs. Columbus Crew SC at Yankee Stadium Sunday, Oct. 22 to Citi Field, home of the rival Mets, the Major League Soccer club announced Tuesday afternoon. The game still will kick off at 4 p.m.
NYCFC said that due to additional preparations, there was insufficient time to convert the stadium should the Yankees reach the World Series.
The Yankees secured a spot in the American League Championship Series by defeating the Cleveland Indians Wednesday night, 5-2. They overcame a 2-0 deficit to win the five-game series, 3-2.
This is the second time City had to move a match from the stadium due to a baseball conflict. Because the Yankees had to play a make-up game against the Kansas City Royals Sept. 25, NYCFC was forced to hold its Sept. 23 home match against the Houston Dynamo at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn.
The baseball team needs 72 hours to convert a soccer pitch back into a baseball field and vice versa.
It has been rare for an MLS team to be bumped out of its stadium for a league game in its 22-year history.
NYCFC being forced to play home games at two other venues just might be a first for any club.
“While we are happy for our partners, the New York Yankees, we understand that relocating a home game is a significant challenge for fans,” NYCFC president Jon Patricof said in a statement. “We feel Citi Field will give our team the best chance of success on the field and provide a good environment for our incredible fans.”
The ALCS starts Friday with the Yankees playing at the Houston Astros. The series has the potential to finish as late as Oct. 21. Because of that, NYCFC said that moving the match to another venue with such short notice – should the Yankees reach the World Cup – would not be feasible due to ticketing, pitch and operational requirements.
“Additionally, it is important for our sporting department to know where the game is taking place as far in advance as possible,” a statement from the club said.
Citi Field has hosted soccer matches in recent years, mostly international friendlies.
“Citi Field is an excellent ballpark which has hosted international soccer matches in the past,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a statement. “From a sporting perspective, this represents an easy transition which would allow our team to get the result we will be looking for.”
NYCFC said that fans that have tickets to the Oct. 22 game will receive an email with ticketing options. They will receive access to a special pre-sale to secure tickets to the match at Citi Field at a discounted rate.