Who they are: The heirs to the legacy of the '70s Cosmos and Pelé, and the reigning North American Soccer League (NASL) champions. They upset the crosstown rival Red Bulls and NYCFC in the 2014 and 2015 US Open Cups—though the Red Bulls later avenged the loss. The Cosmos also made a historic trip to Cuba, where they beat the Cuban national team.
Faces of the franchise: Now that stars Raúl and Marcos Senna are gone, it's a new era in Cosmos-land. Among returning players, forward Lucky Mkosana may be the most exciting to watch.
Key addition: The Cosmos have retooled their roster extensively as they drive for a repeat title. The biggest new name is probably Juan Arango, generally considered one of the best players in Venezuelan history. He's been a prolific goal scorer in top European leagues: La Liga (with Mallorca) and Bundesliga (with Borussia Mönchengladbach).
Fan club: The 5 Points supporters section at Shuart brings together fans from the Cross Island Crew, La Banda del Cosmos and the Borough Boys. They scream, bang drums and let forth colorful clouds of smoke.
Local supporters’ bar: Last season, the team held some watch parties for road games at Jack Demsey's; if you're interested, call ahead to check.
Random bit of trivia: There's a documentary about the original Cosmos.
Match-day practicalities: Take the LIRR to Mineola and then catch the team shuttle. Ticket prices for single games are roughly $15–$90.
New York City FC Home field: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY (tickets) Who they are: The only team in the region that plays within City limits. Faces of the franchise: A starry trio of European footballers—midfielders Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard, and striker David Villa—joined the team as designated players in its first year but didn’t have much time together. Key addition: Despite trading for the top pick in the MLS draft (Jack Harrison, who is out with an injury to start the year), NYCFC might find that its success depends on how the players—especially on the defensive side—respond to first-time manager Patrick Vieira, former captain of the France national team and longtime Arsenal midfielder. Fan club: The Third Rail (Sample chant: “I wanna Diskerud all night / And party everyday!” That would be for midfielder Mix Diskerud.) Local supporters’ bar: Places near the stadium should work; other bars that hold away-game watch parties include Ryan’s Daughter, on the Upper East Side. (From left) Kwadwo Poku, David Villa and Thomas McNamara. Random bit of trivia: The team’s just-unveiled secondary jerseys use orange and blue as their main colors—somewhat reminiscent of the colors worn by a crosstown baseball club not named the Yankees. Match-day practicalities: Take the B, D or 4 trains to the Yankee Stadium-161st St.
New York Red Bulls Home field: Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ (tickets) Who they are: One of the original MLS franchises—launched as the MetroStars—the Red Bulls were regular-season champs in 2015 and made a deep playoff run. Faces of the franchise: Ace goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, steady midfielders Dax McCarty and Sasha Kljestan, dangerous winger Lloyd Sam—the list of skilled players is extensive. Key addition: When your top defender (Matt Miazga) moves to play for English Premier League power Chelsea, your team has some pretty big shoes to fill. Fan clubs: Empire Supporters Club, which you can find on gamedays in section 101; Viking Army, which commandeers section 102. Local supporters’ bar: There are plenty of NYC bars where you can join fans; one is Queens' Bar 43. Bradley Wright-Phillips. Random bit of trivia: Five former franchise coaches also led national teams to the World Cup: Carlos Quieroz (Portugal), Carlos Alberto Parreira (Brazil), Bora Milutinovic (Mexico, Costa Rica, United States, Nigeria, China), Bruce Arena (United States) and Bob Bradley (United States). Match-day practicalities: Take a PATH train to the Harrison stop from either the World Trade Center Transportation Hub or via Newark Penn Station (which you can get to from NYC’s Penn Station).
Find out all you need to know about the beautiful game—who plays, where to see games, some terminology—in the five boroughs.
The Major League Soccer regular season runs from early March to late October, with the postseason following on. March 6 New York Red Bulls vs. The Red Bulls begin what they hope is another successful campaign against high-flying goal scorer Sebastian Giovinco and US men’s national soccer team captain Michael Bradley. March 13 New York City FC vs. Giovinco, Bradley and Co. May 21 New York City FC vs. Round One in this year’s local rivalry series. May 29 New York City FC vs. This should serve as a kind of State of the Union for the comparative progress of last year’s two expansion clubs. June 1 and 15 Third and Fourth Rounds of US Open Cup (teams TBD) It’s uncertain that any of the local teams will host in this tournament (which includes teams from all levels of American soccer), but chances are good that at least one will. June 12 Ecuador vs. Two teams in Copa America Centenario’s Group B square off in this match at MetLife Stadium; advancement to the quarterfinals may be at stake. June 17 Copa America Centenario Quarterfinal This MetLife Stadium game will pit the winner of Group B against the second-place team in Group A. June 26 Copa America Centenario Final The historic tournament crowns a champion at MetLife Stadium. July 3 New York City FC vs. Another installment in the New York derby. July 10 New York Red Bulls vs. This marks the lone time the defending MLS champs will come to town. July 24 New York Red Bulls vs. For the last time this regular season, City supremacy is on the line. Lloyd Sam (with ball) and Taylor Kemp, New York Red Bulls vs. September 11 New York Red Bulls vs. One of the original, and most heated, MLS rivalries resumes.