New York City FC is used to traveling to Red Bull Arena for its derby clashes with arch-rival New York Red Bulls, but later this month NYCFC will head there to be the home team in an arrangement that can be best described as awkward.
NYCFC will face Costa Rican side San Carlos in Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 action on February 26 in what is NYCFC’s home leg of their two-leg series. San Carlos sporting director Gustavo Perez revealed on Tuesday that the match will be played at Red Bull Arena. Sources have confirmed to SBI that this is, in fact, the case.
“They wanted to avoid playing there because of the rivalry they have with the Red Bulls, but in the end they had no other choice,” Perez told Costa Rican outlet Hoy.
SBI reached out to NYCFC for comment, but has yet to receive a response.
According to the Hoy report, NYCFC originally wanted to play the match at a college facility, but the proposal was rejected by Concacaf. With Yankee Stadium unavailable, NYCFC wound up having to turn to Red Bull Arena.
This isn’t the first time the possibility of NYCFC playing a home game at Red Bull Arena had been mentioned as a possibility. NYCFC was in a similar predicament during the 2019 MLS playoffs, with the New York Yankees playing in the MLB playoffs, leaving NYCFC scrambling for options if it made a lengthy playoff run. Ultimately, NYCFC played its first home playoff game at Citi Field, losing to Toronto FC.
NYCFC travels to Costa Rica to face San Carlos on February 20, before playing the return leg in Harrison, New Jersey.