For New York City FC, the location doesn’t matter as much as the desired result.
NYCFC (16-9-8, 56 points) will take up residence at Citi Field after the Yankees’ ALCS run made hosting a soccer match Sunday in the Bronx impossible. More importantly, it’s Decision Day, and the club needs a win to secure the No. 2 seed and a knockout-round bye to open the MLS Cup Playoffs.
“We have our destiny in our own hands, which is a great position to be in,” goalkeeper Sean Johnson told amNewYork.
Columbus Crew SC (16-12-5, 53 points) will be no walk in the park. It hasn’t been shut out since late July and hasn’t lost since early August. Should the current No. 5 seed lock up a win, Columbus could leap to No. 2 in certain scenarios.
For NYCFC, a draw wouldn’t put the spot out of reach and would leave the final standings up to other results. All situations aside, earning a win achieves the goal that the club has had for months and makes the math considerably easier.
“I think the expectations of this group are high,” Johnson said. “We expect a lot of ourselves and of each other. It’s demanding, but it’s a good environment to be in.”
Johnson said he’s looking forward to fans coming out in Queens for the pivotal match.
“No matter what venue, whether it’s home or away, you always want to take the same mindset, so nothing’s changed from that perspective,” Johnson said.
The keeper’s focus is on the three points that can put the team at ease for another couple weeks. Everything else is out of his hands.
“The rest will take care of itself after the final whistle,” he said.
Along with the first-time setting at the Mets’ ballpark, tickets are available for purchase at an unusual site: mets.com/nycfc.