By clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference, New York City FC earned the right to be home for every playoff game up to MLS Cup — and they’d be at home if they reach that final too and LAFC, the Supporters’ Shield winners, falter in the MLS Cup playoffs.
But where home is for NYCFC is very much up in the air.
The club announced the possibility of up to two playoff games — NYCFC earned a first-round bye — could be played at Citi Field in Queens because of a potential scheduling conflict with the New York Yankees.
Because of a similar conflict, NYCFC played a Decision Day game against the Columbus Crew at Citi Field, home of the New York Mets, to close out the 2017 season.
“We’re extremely proud of the team’s achievement this season and finishing top of the Eastern Conference will provide us with a great platform as we enter our fourth consecutive playoff campaign,” NYCFC sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a statement. “Should Yankee Stadium be unavailable, we feel extremely comfortable playing our games at Citi Field which has proven to be an excellent alternative venue for the club.”
“We played a pivotal Decision Day game there in 2017 with our fans providing the same electric atmosphere we’re used to at Yankee Stadium and we know they will do the same come playoff time,” Reyna added.
The club laid out the four scenarios in the chart below.
For fans thinking the dimensions at Citi Field would be different, think again. The club used the same dimensions as they do at Yankee Stadium in the 2017 game at Citi Field and would most likely do the same this time around since the tightness of the field is part of what gives NYCFC such a strong home field advantage.
NYCFC are 11-1-5 at Yankee Stadium this season.
“This season has been incredible and we are excited to kick off our playoff campaign,” NYCFC CEO Brad Sims said in a statement. “We’re also happy for our partners at the New York Yankees for having a fantastic season, and while we recognize their success could relocate our playoff games and is not ideal for our fans, we’re extremely confident that Citi Field would provide us with the home field advantage needed.”
If NYCFC advance to the MLS Cup on Nov. 10 and are in position to host, they’d need to find another alternative. Yankee Stadium is hosting a college football game between Ivy League rivals Dartmouth and Princeton Nov. 9 and Citi Field is set up for StadiumLinks golf from Nov. 8-10. The club’s only other “home” MLS game outside of Yankee Stadium was played at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn. That appears to be available Nov. 10.