MLS Power Ranking of All NYCFC Stadiums

Just three months into the 2022 season, New York City FC has already taken up residence at six different venues. The wanderer lifestyle is that of NYCFC and its fans have had to get used to it, as the team hasn’t played back-to-back home games at the same venue since mid-March. Impressively, the club’s home form remained excellent regardless of setting, but couch jumping reached shocking new levels.

With soccer-specific stadium progression apparently non-existent at the moment, this nomadic existence seems to be the norm for the foreseeable future. The US Open Cup The race gave Belson Stadium, the comfortable turf football stadium built atop a parking lot on the St. John’s campus, its moment in the sun as a first-team venue – with less-than-stellar reviews from residence and opposing managers.

With the home stadium redesign showing no signs of stopping, what better time than now to create a highly subjective and unscientific ranking of every location the NYCFC calls home for a competitive game?

First, I would like to stave off some of the inevitable mockery and outrage this message will inspire. I weigh heavily on the NYCFC fan experience. There’s no denying that any ranking of NYCFC venues from a field play perspective should have the grass pitches in football-specific stadiums in the top spots, with converted baseball fields and plastic surfaces battling in down. For this list, I’m focusing more on what it’s like to be in the stands, the general atmosphere of NYCFC home games, the geography (since, incredibly, California is somehow involved in this) and my personal biases.

With all of this hopefully explained enough, try to be gentle and not give in to the urge to yell at me as I rank every couch NYCFC has crashed on to date.

8. ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Orlando, Florida

Technically, all of MLS could claim this as a “home” arena, except for Nashville which didn’t actually participate due to COVID cases. We can thank the weirdly useless made-for-TV MLS Is Back bubble tournament for this quirky reality. The grounds themselves looked pretty cool, but the decision to hold a crowded mid-summer knockout tournament in Orlando (hello, 9am kick-off time!) still seems odd in retrospect. Considering the dodgy circumstances surrounding this literal Mickey Mouse mug and the fact that it was fanless, it lands comfortably all the way down.

7. Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, California

The beautiful venue seems to be an amazing atmosphere for all LAFC and Angel City F.C. matches, and, hey, NYCFC still hasn’t lost in the building since it opened. The small fact that it is 2,800 miles from New York, however, cements the poor ranking. The concept of New York City FC hosting a game in Los Angeles seems far too surrealeven if CONCACAF Champions League did for some weird game situations for NYCFC since their first involvement in 2020. This beats Orlando since, at the very least, fans could attend, even if it took a Herculean effort outside to get there.

6. Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut

Connecticut doesn’t sound so bad when it’s there or in California. This frequent site for international matches in East Hartford is a two-hour drive from the city, with no viable public transit options. The length of the trek means there was no real on-court advantage when NYCFC visitedwhich was amplified to the extreme during the CONCACAF Champions League encounter with Comunicaciones FC of Guatemala.

The professional-sized field and facility would push this much higher in the rankings if it weren’t for the fact that it’s prohibitively expensive away from where the vast majority of NYCFC fans call it home. It could also score some kind of weird bonus point for being one of two home sites where NYCFC won while being both home. and the away team.

5. St. John’s University Belson Stadium, Queens

This aforementioned football-specific stadium car park can only accommodate around 2,600 fans and has a grass pitch that the manager hates due to its (?) extreme drought. He has been a regular host for the club’s youth teams, and now NYCFC II use it as their home in MLS NEXT Pro.

Belson Stadium is intimate and a good place to watch a game, but it’s not exactly a pro-level venue.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy of NYCFC.com

As a youth team venue or NEXT Pro it’s arguable, but as a venue for first team games? Not ideal. It’s not an easy place to get to by public transport, with severe limitations in terms of equipment, capacity, playing surface, and TV sightlines for those not in the building. It’s not the most important league in metrics, although it’s on par with many others US Open Cup or lower division hospitality locations elsewhere in the country.

4. Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey

On a purely emotional level, he should be last in this ranking. Home to NYCFC’s most hated rivals and an all-too-common house of horrors at Hudson River Derby games, calling this “home” is the hardest pill to swallow.

Ultimately, it’s a beautiful football-specific stadium. The other stadiums I’ve rated above can’t even come close to its quality in terms of pitch, sightlines and all that great football-specific stadium stuff. But it’s a joke to play as a “home” team here. The club’s identity is meant to be linked to playing in New York, a concept that has obviously been severely stretched. It’s the place that puts fans off the most, with the historical significance CONCACAF Champions League Match against Seattle Sounders the only time there was something like a decent turnout (6,413 spectators announced) for a Harrison home game.

Nice stadium, but few like to go to New Jersey.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy of NYCFC.com

No matter how many times the line “it’s easy to get to Red Bull Arena from New York” is repeated, it won’t change the fact that NYCFC fans (and many other potential live football attendees in the area, even some who would call themselves Red Bull fans) have resoundingly said “no” to making the trip.

3. Jack Coffey Field at Fordham University, Bronx

That might seem too high for a place that has only hosted one NYCFC game, and nearly six years ago to boot. But for me it’s also the ultimate “what could have been” as a venue for (some) home games.

First, the negatives: a turf football field (which I’m pretty sure ex-manager Patrick Vieira tore up after the team game there) on a college campus (so, similar issues at Belson Stadium) which is quite far north in the Bronx, without the convenience of Yankee Stadium’s southern positioning. On the other hand, however, it is significantly larger – 7,000 capacity – and aesthetically more pleasing than the other college stadium on this list.

At that NYCFC game, it looked much better on TV for non-attendees than Belson did, and it’s easier to get to by public transportation. Playing there meant fans were close to famous Arthur Avenue for food and drink before or after the game, a massive improvement over what’s typically available near other NYCFC venues.

Despite the pros, it’s for nothing thanks to the ugly scenes that took place between some New York Cosmos and NYCFC supporters in the only 2016 US Open Cup match held here. It’s unclear whether Fordham forever banned NYCFC from playing there, or whether the club didn’t sue the venue for more games of its choosing, or what exactly the circumstances were. But I wonder how things could have been different if that 2016 game hadn’t been marred by stupidity, as it might have been a decent place to turn to when the club’s favorite stadiums in town weren’t available. .

2. Yankee Stadium, Bronx

It’s the closest thing to home there is, and one that could exist for a long time. The only consistent fixture since the club’s inaugural season, the side boast a dominating record here in regular season fixtures dating back to 2017 (50 wins and just seven losses). The stadium and its surrounding pre- and post-match venues are deeply connected to the DNA and culture of the club at this stage.

But the once-electric game-day atmospheres have been a little harder to come by lately (thanks, pandemic/endless stadium mix/ballpark fatigue/choose your own reason), and the field itself remains a narrow horror that can be difficult for viewers at home and in the stands. These shortcomings are inevitable and undeniable, and have not changed since 2015.

Yankee Stadium has an atmosphere.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy of NYCFC.com

What has changed, however, is the perception that NYCFC fans have-Yankees relationship. It seems to be a serious, possibly inspired by parking space case of Yankees Fatigue has set in. Maybe even that championship banner contributed to an increase in dissatisfaction with the club house that Ruth built on a rental basis. So while it’s the location most tied to NYCFC until a real football-specific stadium materializes somewhere in the five boroughs, right now it’s not the most sought-after ground in the team.

1. Citi Field, Queens

It’s impossible to keep Citi out of the top spot, despite the nostalgic and sentimental appeal of Yankee Stadium. There are simply too many points on which he now beats his ballpark mates across the city.

The converted field fits a little better into the outfield at Citi Field than it does at Yankee Stadium. So while no baseball field is a good playing surface, it might be slightly better in Queens. Citi definitely provides a better viewing experience if you’re not at the game, thanks to properly positioned broadcast cameras for the sport being played. Stadium food is far superior to Citi than Yankee. Years of Yankee Stadium-Dominated Home Scheduling Means Games Are Played at the Home of the Amazin’ Dishes feeling new and slightly liberating.

Just feels good.
Photograph by Katie Cahalin, courtesy of NYCFC.com

If the attendance figures remain fairly homogeneous between the two baseball stadiums, for the record, the atmosphere seems livelier at Citi. The stench of that 2019 MLS Cup Playoff failure is all but washed away, with NYCFC undefeated in the building since that October 2019 loss (albeit in just 3 games). Right now, I think that’s where NYCFC fans feel most comfortable, and with Willets Point still mentioned as a potential future stadium locationthe momentum could continue to build for Queens to completely supplant the Bronx as the home borough of NYCFC.

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