The Yankees seem to have the right idea with this soccer thing they have.
Unlike the main residents of the Stadium, NYCFC is alive. It is well. And it is in first place in MLS’s Eastern Conference.
But it’s more than just standings that make this soccer team so special. It’s the way New York took to it in just its second season.
Third in the league in attendance at an average of 26,819, behind Seattle and Orlando, both of which play in American football stadiums, NYC has been a bigger success than the Metrostars when they first came into the league. That team had to be rebranded into the Red Bulls and had a soccer specific stadium built in Harrison, NJ.
But because the Red Bulls play in the shadow of Newark, essentially making them a North Jersey franchise, there was a need for something in New York five boroughs.
The Mets knew it and they looked into bringing a team into Citi Field, until the Madoff scandal crippled their finances and the owners of the New York Cosmos first looked at the MLS before settling on the Tier 2 NASL for their team.
That gave the Yankees, along with their partners with Manchester City, a chance to fill the void.
Once they got the team, the Yankees tried to follow the philosophy of the…well the Yankees. Get some name players and stars to play on the roster. So Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, and David Villa all signed onboard to give NYC a bigger head-start than most expansion teams have.
Now, it’s not all peaches and roses playing at Yankee Stadium. Ironically, the best seats for NYCFC tend be the worst seats for the Yankees. The left field bleachers are usually the most crowded and the third base side giving the best views.
But that didn’t seem to matter for this lively crowd, who seemed into it throughout the 90 minutes. The Third Rail cheering section sang and cheered throughout, while a marching band helped lead the chorus.
It also helped that today’s match was against the LA Galaxy, one of the marque teams of Major League Soccer. This would be the first visit to the Bronx by the Galaxy and ESPN picked up the game, since it would give them the New York vs. Los Angeles matchup.
And NYCFC Nation seemed to love it with 35,509 fans in the stands today, the second largest crowd of the season.
Although, the 1-0 score makes you think there wasn’t a lot of action, NYC dominated LA in play and on the scoresheet, allowing NYCFC to go to 11-7-8 on the season.
David Villa scored the only goal in the sixth minute but NYC had many more chances than LA, who were generally outclassed. So much so, that this test of NYCFC shows that they could be a contender for the MLS Cup.
“So we are working game after game and we worked from the start of the season to get the MLS Cup,” Pirlo said. “It’s great that we are first in the standings.”
So we have a second year team that is drawing like crazy and they are at the top of the standing with mentions of a championship.
Seems very Yankee-like to me.
As we know, that’s the way they like it up in the Bronx and now NYCFC seems to be fitting right in.