Why NYCFC plans to play its first home game in 2022 in Los Angeles

New York City FC’s first home game of 2022 will be anything but for fans living in the five boroughs.

This has been the case a bit regularly since 2020, when the club started using the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey as an alternative venue. Still, fans expecting to participate in NYCFC’s home ground in the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 will have some more miles to travel – nearly 3,000 miles, that is.

NYCFC will play host to the Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, home of LAFC, against Santos de Guápiles FC of Costa Rica on February 23, the club said in a press release on Tuesday. Kickoff is set for at. 18.00 Eastern. The team will then stay in the Los Angeles area to begin the regular MLS season against the LA Galaxy on February 27 at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.

City qualified for the CCL thanks to their penalty kick victory over the Portland Timbers in the 2021 MLS Cup last December, the club’s first title of any kind in seven years of existence. However, this result complicated its already difficult planning problems for 2022. Still without its own home ground going into its eighth season, NYCFC plans to play its MLS home games at Yankee Stadium and Citi Field in 2022, with one game set for Red Bull Arena . The club is also expected to host the Campeones Cup against the Mexican champion in late summer, another advantage of the MLS Cup victory.

According to the release, both baseball stadiums remain unapproved by CONCACAF for their international club competition, a problem that forced NYCFC to play two CCL home games at the Red Bull Arena in early 2020 ahead of the COVID-19 stop. Red Bull’s home ground remains the only CONCACAF-approved pitch in the area, but stadium and pitch renovations will prevent NYCFC from using its rivals’ home for this match.

“It’s frustrating that this home game will be played on the other side of the country,” NYCFC CEO Brad Sims said in a statement. “But with our season opener at the LA Galaxy just a few days later and our inability to play at Yankee Stadium or one of our alternative home grounds, we felt that this event gave our club the best possible chance of two positive results that week. we seem to be doing well in the CCL and starting to defend the title. “

NYCFC will first travel to San Jose, Costa Rica, to meet Santos de Guápiles in the opening match on February 15 at. 20.00. This is NYCFC’s second appearance in the CONCACAF Champions League. In 2020, the club beat AD San ​​Carlos, also from Costa Rica, in the quarterfinals before losing to the Mexican team Tigres in the quarterfinals.

With this year’s CCL home opener now to be played nationwide, the MLS Cup champions will not get their home debut until March 12, when the NYCFC hosts CF Montréal at the Yankee Stadium.

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