The soccer news starts with NYCFC moving four of its weeknight games to the weekend by using Citi Field in Queens. That means Saturday home games on April 26, July 25, August 8, and September 26. NYCFC used the home of the Mets for their 2019 playoff game due to the unavailability of Yankee Stadium. It’s the same situation in the 2020 regular season, with NYCFC’s home stadium only available when the Yankees are on the road. That was always going to be the issue with Yankee Stadium, at best a temporary solution for the team when they entered the league in 2015.
Fining a site to build a soccer stadium somewhere within New York City is an ongoing issue for the club. Linked with various sites and plans, NYCFC is now a team splitting games between two baseball stadiums rather than the cramped soccer confines of one. That’s undoubtedly better than giving up on weekend dates when Yankee Stadium is occupied by baseball, but it’s not what most expected from New York’s MLS team.
“We believe that reducing the number of occasions where we play three games in eight days will be a great competitive benefit for our players,” NYCFC CEO Brad Sims said. “While Yankee Stadium remains our home, Citi Field has emerged as an incredible alternative venue for us and moving four dates from midweek to weekends is the best option for our fans and players alike. The atmosphere created by our fans at Citi Field has been really special recreating the home field advantage we enjoy at Yankee Stadium. We hope this more balanced schedule will provide further flexibility and value for our fans and we are excited to play more games in front of our passionate and loyal fanbase in Queens.”
Again, fair enough all things considered. It’s no secret that NYCFC is currently operating with more constraints on scheduling than any team in MLS. They’re the only ones sharing with a summer sport that needs the stadium across multiple days for 81 games from April through September and potentially the playoffs in October. NYCFC’s playoff scenario in 2019 only underlined that issue, with it unlikely they would get to play at Yankee Stadium no matter how far they progressed. Where building a stadium for NYCFC is on the broader MLS to-do list is a good question, since none of this will change as long as they’re sharing with baseball.
Also in the soccer news, Schalke announced a time-frame for the return of Weston McKennie, out with a dislocated shoulder. They expect the USMNT player to be available in February. “We’ve made the decision to treat Weston’s injury conservatively, and to avoid surgery,” Schalke coach David Wagner said. “We wish Weston all the best for a speedy recovery. I know that our medical staff will do all they can in order for Weston to make his comeback as quickly as possible.”
Josh Sargent wasn’t in the squad for Werder Bremen’s 5-0 home loss to Mainz. A first-half hat-trick and an own goal had Mainz 4-0 up by the 38th minute. Tyler Boyd wasn’t in the squad for RB Leipzig’s 3-3 draw at Borussia Dortmund. Down 2-0 from the 34th minute, Timo Werner scored for Leipzig in the 47th and 53rd. Dortmund went ahead in the 55th with Patrik Schick equalizing in the 77th. Zach Steffen and Alfredo Morales’s Fortuna Dusseldorf lost 3-0 at Augsburg. Fortuna gave up goals in the 32nd, 61st, and 72nd minutes. Morales saw yellow in the 40th.
Timothy Weah wasn’t in the squad for Lille’s 3-0 win at Monaco. Victor Osimhen opened the scoring in the 19th minute. Lioc Remy added goals in first-half stoppage time and the 86th minute. Shaq Moore’s Tenerife advanced in the first round of the Copa del Rey with a 3-0 win at Mensajero. Jorge Padilla scored in the 6th minute with Naranjo adding goals in the 37th and 83rd. Tyler Boyd was on the bench for Besiktas’s 2-0 loss at 24 Erzincanspor in the second-leg of the fifth round of the Turkish Cup. Besiktas advanced 3-2 on aggregate.
Pro Soccer USA’s Mitchell Northam reports from the Charlotte MLS expansion announcement .The Charlotte Observer’s Scott Folwer on the quick process that got the city an MLS expansion team. Goal’s Ryan Tomlich asks if Charlotte will be the last expansion team for awhile. ESPN’s David Newton also looks at what may be the end of the current MLS expansion era. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Doug Roberson welcomes Charlotte to MLS by asking about a rivalry game.
SBI Soccer’s Franco Panizo goes through the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying schedule. Football 365’s Toby Sprigings notes that we’re three years away from the 2022 World Cup final and asks a question. The Athletic’s Matt Slater on wider issues coming out of China’s response to Arsenal player Mesut Ozil’s comments. World Soccer’s Paddy Agnew explains Napoli’s situation in Serie A.
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