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NYCFC has been left red-faced as it gets set to open its season early against Costa Rican side AD San Carlos in CONCACAF Champions League play.
According to a report by Costa Rican publication CRHoy, which includes quotes from San Carlos executive Gustavo Perez, the Major League Soccer club will play its home leg of the matchup at Red Bull Arena due to the the unavailability of Yankee Stadium. The Athletic reporter Sam Stejskal confirmed the report.
“They wanted to avoid playing there because of the rivalry they have with Red Bull, but in the end they had no choice,” said Perez, the San Carlos sporting director, as quoted in the CRHoy report.
So far no reason for the conflict at Yankee Stadium has been reported.
The revelation is an incredibly embarrassing one for NYCFC, having to turn to its bitter league rival for venue assistance, still without its own soccer-specific stadium in its seventh season of existence. However, it could be turned on the gracious hosts as well, should NYCFC outdraw the NY Red Bulls for the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16 match. The Red Bulls drew 3,417 last season when they hosted Dominican club Atletico Pantoja in late February.
NYCFC plays the first leg against San Carlos on February 20 on the road in Costa Rica, while the return leg is on February 28. The MLS season is slated to begin March 1 against Columbus on the road, while its home opener will be against FC Dallas on March 14.