New York City FC Feeling Disrespected Heading Into Playoffs 2
Andy Martin, USATSI

New York City FC is in the MLS Playoffs possessing three of the biggest stars in the soccer universe, but are still doubted by their local peers and landlords.

It’s been quite a turnaround for the second year MLS franchise New York City Football Club. They shot from outside the playoff scene in year one to second place in the Eastern Conference, earning a first-round BYE.

But whether it’s their more established neighbors, the Red Bulls or New York Yankees management, words have come short in the respect department.

Maybe it’s their fanbase that has been vocal and present taking to this presentation with such enthusiasm that it has drawn the ire of Red Bull fans and their organization. They mock the fact that they are a feeder for Manchester City sprinkled with three stud stars in David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard, referring to them as Manchester City Lite. They fell on their face in their first season and they were pleased.

But year two can be summarized by brutal numbers how successful this campaign has been. The big three have played to their full potential providing wins and star power to Yankee Stadium while drawing over 27,000 fans a game ranked them third overall while their rivals the New York Red Bulls drew over 7,000 less.

NYCFC even took their first victory against their red neighbors, but two lopsided losses and the gaining of the number one seed in the same conference has allowed the Red Bulls to maintain the notion that they are the superior side while still refusing to acknowledge NYCFC as a true rival. With two New York franchises sitting at number one and two in the East, you would think the New York Yankees would be pleased to have postseason games of any kind in their stadium.

Even here, they are reminded that they are second class citizens.

Recent Yankee Stadium renovations in the offseason are messing with NYCFC fans’ playoff plans. The Yankees were not concerned with waiting for the MLS Playoffs to complete their run as they intend to remove 2,100 seats, 1,100 from the bleacher section to restructure. “Having these types of spaces in Yankee Stadium is fundamental to the expectations of our fans,” the Yankees announced.

This, obviously, doesn’t jive well for soccer fans.

Even with the possibility of an attractive New York vs New York playoff series, it is not deemed important enough to hold off building a playground and open-air social gathering zones.

The Yankees response to the issue implied their indifference:

“The impending construction will affect a very limited number of ticketholders for potential New York City FC playoff matches in 2016, all of whom will be directly contacted by the club.”

While respect is coming slowly on both fronts for the MLS franchise that represents this city, one thing is for sure: they will not get any empathy from anyone.

They will have to bite the bullet until the day they can move to their own soccer-specific stadium which is still quite a few years off.


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