If you’re scratching your head and searching the Twitterverse for clues from New York City FC about where their first playoff match of the 2019 season, you’re not alone. Fans have been clamoring since Decision Day for information on the location of the October 23rd playoff match versus D.C. United or Toronto FC. Supporters have known for the better part of two weeks of the scenarios involving the Yankees, but a possible rain out this Wednesday could push back a possible announcement from the club and delay the ticket sales.
Thank You Sir, May I Have Another??
All rise for our baseball playing overloards. According to scenarios provided by NYCFC, if the Yankees win the American League Championship Series and advance to the World Series, the club will host the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals at Citi Field. If the Yankees advance to games 6 or 7 of the ALCS, but lose, NYCFC will host the conference semifinals at Citi Field and the conference finals at Yankee Stadium. Finally, and if you’re not confused already, if the Yankees lose in 5 games to the Astros, both the conference semifinals and finals will be held at Yankee Stadium.
As of Wednesday morning, The Astros lead the Yankees two games to one with the next two games at Yankee stadium. Stranger things have happened (Yankees vs Red Sox 2004 ALCS), but it seems unlikely that Yankees will get swept at home. In fact the Yankees longest losing streak at home all season was two games dating back to March and April. Think about that for a second, the Yankees haven’t lost back to back games at home in over six months. That kind of home field advantage if NYCFC-esque. A Yankees win in the next two games will force the series back to Houston. Therefore it’s imperative that NYCFC bites the proverbial bullet and announces both the Eastern Conference semifinals, and possible finals, at Citi Field.
Time… Isn’t On Our Side
The most important thing gained by announcing postseason games at Citi Field is time. Season ticket holders will have time for a ticket presale and NYCFC can begin a public sale of tickets. Over 20,000 fans attended the previous Citi Field match back in 2017 with only the lower deck opened. NYCFC plans to open the field level and parts of the second deck if matches are held at Citi Field. With a capacity closer to 28,000, NYCFC will need to sell a large number of tickets to the public because of the declining number of season ticket holders. The longer the club waits to announce Citi Field, the less likely they are to fill the stadium.
Another reason why time is of the essence is because the club will need to convert Citi Field from a baseball field to a soccer pitch. Yankee stadium grounds crew needs roughly 72 hours to convert the field. However, anyone who’s been to an NYCFC match at Yankee Stadium knows how fickle the turf covering the turf the infield can be. If NYCFC made the decision to play at Citi Field today, theoretically they can lay turf as soon as it can be trucked in. This will give over a week for the sod to take root and should hopefully help NYCFC avoid those embarrassing mishaps.
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) April 6, 2019
Finally, and most importantly, time gives coach Dome Torrent and NYCFC players time to adjust to Citi Field. Sean Johnson, Alex Callens, Alex Ring, and Maxi Moralez are the only starting players who played at Citi Field back in 2017. Even then, it was a one off match. Players need time to adjust to the sight lines and the field. If Citi Field is going to be our home for the playoffs, we want our players to feel like it’s their own too.
Just Do It.
If ever there was a time for NYCFC to be proactive, it needs to be now. It’s time for the club to announce a postseason playoff run at Citi Field. Fans, the grounds crew, coaches and players all need to know, and know now. If NYCFC has a successful run in the 2019 MLS Playoffs it will because of the players, coaches, AND a home field advantage. That home should be Citi Field in 2019.