New York City FC is coming home — sort of.
Fresh off a 1-1 draw against the cellar-dwelling Colorado Rapids, a home match is just what the doctor ordered for the second-place squad. One problem: Saturday’s match against the Houston Dynamo will be played at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut — hardly the comfy confines of the five boroughs.
The team was bounced because of a rained out Yankees game that needed to be rescheduled. Without enough time to change the playing surface from baseball field to soccer pitch, the Stadium’s second tenant was forced to look elsewhere for the first time.
“We’re looking forward to playing there and having our fans come out and support the team in Hartford,” NYCFC president Jon Patricof said after the announcement in late August. “We have worked very closely with Houston and MLS to find an alternative venue prioritizing our supporters and sporting department.”
It’s a two-hour ride, give or take, and the club will be providing bus transportation for season ticket holders from Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and Yankee Stadium. Other options include driving or taking Amtrak from Penn Station to Hartford. Fortunately for NYCFC (15-8-6, 51 points), it should have more options on the pitch, wherever it is going forward.
David Villa subbed on late in the second half last Saturday, making his return after a two-match absence because of injury. His presence could alleviate pressure from the back line, which had multiple lapses in the second half including the equalizer in the 88th minute. James Sands, a 17-year-old academy product, came on for his debut and showed what the future might hold beyond this campaign.
A win against the Dynamo (10-10-8, 38 points) would set a new single-season club record for wins and bring some comfort in its second-to-last home game before the postseason, for whatever home is worth this weekend.