NYC Soccer Goes to XI
by Jonathan Zeller, 04/30/2014
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[Update, 5/9/2014: Added US Open Cup information]
The image of a soccer field plunked down in the middle of Yankee Stadium recently made the rounds online after the Yankees confirmed what most fans strongly suspected: New York City Football Club, set to become the newest member of Major League Soccer in 2015, will host games at the home of the Bronx Bombers until the team gets a stadium of their own. If the sight of a pitch where a diamond usually goes seems strange, get used to it—for the foreseeable future, there will be plenty of soccer to go around in the New York City area.
In Harrison, New Jersey, Thierry Henry and the New York Red Bulls—winners of the 2013 Supporters' Shield—are set to play MLS and CONCACAF Champions League opponents, not to mention English Premier League side Arsenal (more on that later), at Red Bull Arena. International friendlies are coming to Citi Field and that aforementioned ballpark in the Bronx. The revived New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League, which is one level down from MLS, are still at it too—though they're currently playing out on Long Island in Hempstead (a proposal for a closer stadium, just across the border from Queens, is under consideration). Rumor has it the Cosmos may be able to play their way into a US Open Cup matchup with the Red Bulls themselves if they win on May 28 in Jamaica, Queens, at Belson Soccer Stadium—which is perched atop a parking lot in a clever bit of space saving. The venue is home to another successful NYC soccer team, the St. John's Red Storm, which reached the NCAA tournament last year. With the World Cup coming up—and somewhere to watch no matter which team you root for—it's a good time to be a fan of the beautiful game.
For those interested in seeing what the buzz is about, we've assembled a list of some of the biggest matches coming up this season:
USA vs. Turkey
When: June 1
Where: Red Bull Arena
Tickets: Visit newyorkredbulls.com for info
The US men's national team faces Turkey in one of its last tune-ups before heading to the World Cup in Brazil.
Portugal vs. Ireland
When: June 10
Where: MetLife Stadium
Considering the sizable Portuguese and Irish communities nearby, it should be a fun evening in the stands during this international friendly, a pre–World Cup warm-up for Os Navegadores.
AC Milan vs. Olympiacos [cancelled]
When: July 24
Where: Citi Field
Teams from Italy and Greece play in the group stage of the International Champions Cup.
[Update, 6/26: This game has been cancelled]
New York Red Bulls vs. Arsenal
When: July 26
Where: Red Bull Arena
English Premier League side Arsenal hasn't visited the States since 1989, but they're dropping by Red Bull Arena to face a team that includes Thierry Henry, who once starred for them.
Manchester City vs. Liverpool
When: July 30
Where: Yankee Stadium
A part owner of New York City FC, Manchester City tests out the pitch at Yankee Stadium against Liverpool in the group stage of the International Champions Cup.