NYCFC was forced to play two games from Yankee Stadium due to baseball conflicts. (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)
FrontRowSoccer.com continues its year in review with story No. 7.
The status quo might not necessarily be criteria for one of the top 10 stories of the year.
New York City City FC completed its third successive MLS season, calling Yankee Stadium home.
However, the fact the team was forced to play two regular-season games out of the stadium within a month must be a cause for concern.
On Sept. 23, City had to play its game against the Houston Dynamo at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn., 118 miles away from the New York City border.
The club was forced to move out of Yankee Stadium for that encounter because the Yankees plated the Kansas City Royals at the ballpark in a make-up game two days later. Stadium ground crews need three days to convert the soccer pitch into a baseball field. The teams wound up in a 1-1 draw.
On Oct. 22, NYCFC again had to play away, this time its regular-season finale at Citi Field in Queens, home of the rival New York Mets. because of the Yankees’ surprising postseason success. They reached the American League Championship Series. NYCFC said that due to additional preparations, there was insufficient time to convert the stadium should the Yankees reach the World Series. City and Columbus Crew SC played to a 2-2 tie.
MLS commissioner Don Garber acknowledged the team’s problems in securing a site.
“It’s not optimum,” Garber said during his state of the league press conference Dec. 8. “It wreaks havoc on our schedule and it’s not good for fans and NYCFC.
“Patrick’s been patient.”
As in Patrick Vieira, the head coach.
“But it’s a challenge,” Garber added. “They have been for many years, no different than Miami, trying to get a stadium deal done.”
With the Yankees on the ascent, it might be difficult to find dates at the stadium in October and perhaps November in the future.
City has put the periscope up and is considering several possible sites, including the Harlem River Yards in the South Bronx, a spot near the stadium and in Flushing, Queens.
“They’re going to continue to work hard on that,” Garber said. “I think if we were going to look at this situation today, New York City as teams 25, 26, 27 or 28, we would require there be a stadium finalized at that time. But I have a lot of confidence in Marty Edelman [team vice chairman]. I have a lot of confidence in Jon [Patricof, team president] and Ferran Soriano [managing director].
“Life’s a long time with us. You go through a lot of trial and tribulation. But we’ll have a stadium and I believe we’ll have a stadium in Boston as well.”
While it was not the team’s top priority, NYCFC lost a bid in securing Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. for its stadium. On Wednesday, the New York Islanders won the bid from New York State to build a hockey arena at the race track.
Sunday: Story No. 6