Week 3 was shaping up to be a fun one for fans of Major League Soccer’s two New York clubs.
With temperatures in the mid-50s and sunny skies, it was almost ideal conditions for New York City FC’s home opener and the club said a crowd of about 24,000 was expected at Yankee Stadium for the club’s match against FC Dallas.
But when the league announced matches would be suspended for 30 days due to coronavirus, it not only resulted in those games being postponed, but it also meant fans would have to make alternate plans.
John Malone has been an NYCFC season ticket holder from Day One and he rarely misses a match. He had a full day planned — NYCFC game in the early afternoon, followed by the White Plains St. Patrick’s Day parade.
When both were scrapped, he and his family got creative, including the purchase of a firetruck.
“With all the St. Patrick’s ay parades canceled, my family is throwing our own parade, with special ordered green beer can, a firetruck and some bag pipes,” Malone said. “We’re just going to go back and forth on my family’s street until we get yelled at.”
Tommy Miles from Staten Island, N.Y. has also been an NYCFC fan since the club’s inception, though this is his first year without season tickets. Like other fans, he’s forced to change his game-day routine, although some elements of it will remain the same.
“I plan on doing all the work around the house I’ve been putting off for months, making progress on my reading list and having more time for my family,” Miles said. “But more likely, I’ll just sit in the backyard, catch up with all those episodes of “Mannix” I’ve never seen and keep current on which bodegas still have beer stocked as the world ends around us.”
Brenda Cahill, an NYCFC season ticket holder since Day One from New Jersey, won’t be without MLS totally.
“I didn’t get a chance to watch week 2 of MLS, so I figured I would watch some replays,” said Cahill, who is also going to put her other streaming apps like Netflix, Disney + and Amazon Prime to use. “I’m basically distracting myself with TV all day this weekend. I want to finish watching “Babylon Berlin” and from there nothing in particular.”
With their team originally away this weekend, and playing on Sunday night, Red Bulls fans didn’t have to change their plans as drastically, but without soccer, and MLS specifically, its led to alternative programming for some.
“I’ll be busy working and will probably spend a fair amount of time reading and watching the various shows I haven’t had a chance to yet,” said Brooklyn, N.Y. resident and longtime Red Bulls season ticket holder Ainslie Binder.
Her queue include “Prisoners of War,” the book the Showtime series “Homeland” is based on, as well as “Hillary,” the documentary on Hillary Clinton.
Others, like Bryan Rice, a season-ticket holder since 2013 from Monmouth County, N.J. who has been going to games since the early 2000s, are using the chance to look back at their team with an analytical eye.
“I might look at some old Red Bulls games from the [Jesse] Marsch era and analyze the changes from the aggressive, front-foot winning soccer the team played then with the conservative and mediocre ‘Armas ball’ the team plays now,” said Rice, who had to scrap plans to travel to South Florida for the club’s scheduled match at Inter Miami next week.
Colombian-born Juan Mesa loves to get his soccer fix from around the world, but with leagues largely shuddered this weekend, and not being a fan of Liga MX, the Bay Area resident who formerly lived in New York, is looking for alternative ways to watch some sort of soccer.
He said he might give the “Sunderland ‘Till I Die,” Netflix series a watch and use his free time to try out some new recipes.
“This public health crisis reminds me of a quote by Real Madrid legend Jorge Valdano: ‘ Soccer is the most important thing of the least important things.’ This is the time to reflect around that.”