Top Stories

Yankee Stadium field draws praise after NYCFC home opener


Photo by Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports


Since the announcement that the club would adopt Yankee Stadium as its inaugural home, New York City FC has fielded questions about just how the playing surface would hold up in the face of actual game play.

For goalscorer David Villa, some of those questions were answered Sunday.

NYCFC topped the New England Revolution, 2-0, Sunday evening in the club’s first game on their home field. Given the opportunity to finally test out the field in actual game situations, Villa says that he was certainly pleased with how the field held up during the club’s first matchup on home soil.

“I would say that I think the pitch was fine today,” Villa said in his postgame press conference. “We have to bear in mind the cold weather that we’ve endured in the last month and I think that the team that has been working on it has worked extremely hard and we should thank them for it. Hopefully, in the next few months, with nicer weather, the pitch will be in better condition and we will all benefit from it.

“I think the team and the players, we have to adapt to the conditions and once again I want to thank the team that put in the work to prepare the pitch because, once again, it was in a very good state today by any standards in any sport. In the next few months, we’ll benefit from even better conditions as the weather gets better.”

For Villa, the weather did play a major factor in Sunday’s proceedings, as the Spanish star referenced the cold numerous times after the game. In addition to the temperature, both head coach Jason Kreis and goalkeeper Josh Saunders said the wind played a part in the team’s strategy, as the backline was reluctant to play the ball out of the back with the wind in their faces in the opening half.

“The other thing that was a major factor that a lot of people don’t understand quite enough is the wind,” Kreis said. “In the first half, it was very, very difficult for our guys to feel any comfort trying to play out of the back with that much wind in their face. The guys, it was a good adjustment on their part.”

“Against the wind, it was difficult in the first half,” Saunders added. “The second half, to be able to come out there and possess the ball in their half, it made the game a lot easier for me and a lot easier for us. It was good to see.”

With just one of the team’s 17 home games in the mirror, Kreis believes that the field, like his team, has room for improvement despite the initial successes. That improvement, Kreis says, will come as the season wears on and the team and grounds crew continue to experiment and adjust the field to fit the team’s vision.

“For me, it was fantastic and the fact that they were able to put that together for us in such a short time, I was really pleased,” Kreis said. “I say this: from what I saw last summer to what I see now, I think this will continue to get better and better and better as they continue to realize and understand what we’re looking for.”


  1. MLS is actually starting to get exciting. It’s been building for the past few years, but it definitely keeps reaching new highs.

    When it gets to 24 teams, it will be even better, and more widespread.

  2. I’m a relatively new soccer fan having really discovered the game during the World Cup. I am also a Yankee fan so this new team that they own piqued my curiosity and I tuned in. This was my first MLS game that I have watched and I thought it was a fantastic game. Fast paced, quite a bit of action, and fun to watch. I may not be as savvy as some other people on here when it comes to recognizing quality in soccer but I enjoyed and will tune in again. I know they talked about the shorter field, did that contribute to the back and forth style?

    • typically you put 22 players on a smaller than usual field and its all physical and crowded. This game was actually really nice to watch because of the quality of the 2 teams and intent on quality passing. I think that the cold air and shorter pitch also allowed the players to run without tiring as much. put SJ, Colorado or Houston in this game might be a different story.

      i think the Kreis has assembled a good team to play on this field. Villa, Mix, Grabavoy, Velasquez and hopefully Poku gets to show his worth soon – all great players in tight spaces.

    • Very cool — getting into soccer is a decision that will almost certainly change your life (if you’ve found your way to this site, it’s possible you are already a junkie). It comes with its share of frustration, but I can guarantee that there is nothing on the face of the earth that is more thrilling seeing your team score a sick goal in a huge game. It just never gets old.

      To your question, beto’s answer above is basically spot-on. Smaller pitches can create very ugly games (sometimes they are actually used strategically– Antigua employed a FIFA-minimum sized pitch against the US in the last World Cup Qualification cycle in an attempt to reduce the available space and stymie the US attack). But a smaller pitch also means that the ball will be in attacking positions more often (since the midfield is “shorter”, and the ball can basically be played into the attacking third from anywhere on the field). As New England learned, disorganization at the back can be lethal here.

  3. Señor Taco, please go home. We will call you in 5 to 10 years when the MLS is cool enough for you and your troll friends who pretend! It’s really easy 2 like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United!! Maybe 1 day you and the posers in this country will realize that you support where you live and where you are from. I am from Chicago. The Fire is my Team! I miss you Peter Wilt, but I will never give up the Fire!!! This County is littered with Soccer Trolls!! Take a look in the mirror and support your HOME TEAM!!!!!!!

    • I don’t know Killer Whale….If I agree with you. I was born in NJ but grew up in Long Island, NY. Played soccer in a small college in Virginia and have lived in Northern California for the last 13 years. I am old enough to see the Cosmos on TV and watch the New York Arrows in person. I have been to a few Quakes games but have never felt any affinity for any MLS team. I am a die hard USMNT fan for 34 years…only missed one game in all that time. I agree that the game has gotten better and I only watch it now because there isn’t anybody to watch over seas anymore. Not sure it is great for the USMNT but it is improving the league. To your larger point I am a Yankees fan because I grew up watching them on TV and I am a USMNT fan for the same reason. So therefore I like the MLS teams that have USMNT players on them and I hope Toronto does well because we need Jozy to be big in the next cycle.

      • what am I am trying tomsay is that this country is littered with soccer fans who don’t understand who they should support( I work with so many millennials who are clueless ) I am 36 years old. Watched as much soccer as possible since was 18. I just don’t understand why we celebrate European soccer so much. Don’t get me wrong I love the champions league! And watch way too much of it, but good God has anyone else been watching the EPL this year excluding the you know who’s ? Are you excited for QPR vs Sunderland( Oh that’s right Sunderland are good now with Defoe not Altidore) it’s Boring! I’m sorry Todd T, but we should support what we have. I will always always watch Barcelona vs Real Madrid, but I’m all about grassroots and the rest of my time is devoted to MLS!!! 5. 10. 20 years from now when it is COOL!!! Where were you? I have just become tired of the euro trolls in this country. I agree the talent level is higher, but it is so top heavy. Call me a homer, but I believe in mls. Maybe it’s because I have been here since day one or maybe it’s because I understand what a Home Team means? I guessed I missed it when a dude from Liverpool was supporting the Columbus Crew? Just saying. We need to understand what support means!!!!

      • You realize that you are trying to tell a Yankees fan to quit front running. For all I know ToodT is a great guy..but come on.
        It doesnt matter….

        Do you think you might be wasting your time ?
        Maybe ?

        KW, there will always be casual fans. They will always think themselves to be serious fans. You will not change it even when MLS shortly becomes very popular.

      • Comments like these two are what really make me question whether soccer can take hold in this country. Are we really attempting to denigrate new fans of the sport so that we can keep it for ourselves? is any fandom that doesnt match YOUR fandom really worth taking a crap on just so you can prove …. what? I’ve been an MLS fan from day 1. I say the more the merrier. Someone not being a died in the wool blood seeking fan does not ruin my enjoyment of a game any more than someone being a pretentious condescending know it all fan (who makes tons of assumptions about other people based solely on making sure everyone knows how awesome they are). Lighten up francis.

      • I’m the father of soccer in the country… I’ve been watching soccer here in person since the day it arrived off the boat from England.

        And I have to say all you newcomers with your talk about “watching the Cosmos before Pele” and “I went to the 1950 World Cup” just make me sick.

        If you weren’t there for the primetime days of the ASL (and you better believe I mean the real one, not the ASL II) then you don’t know SQUAT!!!!

        Now you kids get off my lawn!!!!

  4. Misleading headline. If something controversial is only being given a thumbs up from the people at fault for the controversy, their praise is clearly suspect. Would only be news if praised by other team or someone who is impartial.

  5. I was watching the game with some of my buddies who don’t like MLS but who knew nycfc was going to play against some weird team name New England revolution, and they were impressed with the pack stadium, the speed of the game and the ole chanting.
    During the game they ask me,if nycfc was better than galaxy and that was the only team they knew as a matter of fact (galaxy).
    That’s when I realized NYcfc will be the biggest team if MLS in the coming years. It will be a hated or love it team and because of Nycfc,MLS will be know in different corners of the world.
    For now Nycfc are the new cosmos and I wonder what the cosmos are thinking now.
    We all know red bull love their German team and cosmos might try to over take them now.

    • Lol, NEhas the weird name?

      Oh when NewYorkCityFC comes marching in, oh when NewYorkCityFC comes marching iiiiiin….

      • In American sports the FC teams are the weird ones.

        Every sport in America has the City/State/Region name followed by an official nickname/mascot name.

        And finally, NYCFC will never been known as anything around the world except as Manchester City’s minor-league team. You join the ranks of Chivas USA as a second-rate knock-off and that is all you can aspire to be.

    • they go from Seattle to Yankee Stadium to Gillette. Good call by JJ scheduling his operation to miss the first few games of the season!

  6. Well of course NYCFC coaches and players arent going to talk ill of their home field, would be interested to hear some quotes from NE players if there are any. From what I saw on TV it didn’t look very impressive and I can only wonder what it’s going to be like once the MLB seasons tarts.

    • It looked like crap. The second color of grass for the grass covering the infield looked bad.

      It looked very bad on TV, the camera is too far away from the field so the players look small and it is at a bad angle where their bodies often blocked our view of the ball. The foulpole was annoying and the way the fans were so far from the field and behind a 8 foot wall made for bad TV. Last NYC home game I will bother watching on TV.

      That was all just the presentation, as for the field itself it was way too narrow so the players looked like rec league players bunched up out there. That might help NYC as Villa can move around in traffic but overall the game just got ugly at times.


Leave a Comment