Yankee Stadium hosted a matchup of an interesting variety this past Sunday night. It was not the Yankees against the Red Sox. That game occurred a bit further north in a scrappy little town called BAWSTON.
In the house that Ruth Refinanced, the New York City FC faced off against the Seattle Sounders FC on a Sunday night Major League Soccer match. It was featured in a number of leagues on Draftkings and I thoroughly enjoyed the up-tempo action. But there was something peculiar to the field.
The NYCFC field at Yankee Stadium measured only 70 yards across. So this match was played in an alleyway. It was jarring to the senses as I had spent much of the morning watching the English Premier League action and this sudden shift in my perspective took a few minutes to adjust. Sadly, it took longer for the players on the field. Moreover, soccer was never meant to be played on a baseball field. Let’s just never forget that, shall we?
FIFA rules allow for a range of field sizes for matches. Those rules allow for a match to be played on a field only 50 yards wide. That numbs my mind when the maximum size allows for a field 100 yards wide. The European clubs play on fields approximately 100 yards wide. This allows for the play of the match to spread out and for the wings to yield those beautiful and dangerous cross passes to feed into goal scoring opportunities. The match in Yankee Stadium did not allow for the arching European style of play Sunday evening.
Instead viewers received a special treat. The narrow field cut-off the wings of the match, but increased the speed in which this match was played. The resulting score was a buffet for the DFS leagues. The Sounders punished NYCFC 3 to 1. This is important to remember in the near future or next time a visitor comes to play the NYCFC.
Yes, the narrow field is difficult for any player to play on, but it is jarring because the stadium is also shared with the mythological New York Yankees and as such, time is a precious commodity in preparing for competition.
The Yankees are a multi-billion dollar international baseball club. The NYCFC are the newest club added to the MLS, who are awaiting more permanent accommodations. You should also note New York City is located in the state of the New York, within the United States of America. Guess who gets priority for practice and time on the field.
In short, NYCFC doesn’t get to practice on this field on a regular basis. In fact, they get the same amount of warm-up time the visiting team gets: an hour and half before each match. So they are just as used to or not used to the pitch when the whistle blows.
This erases the concept of the “home field” advantage. It also further degrades the worth of forwards and midfielders in these matches – or at least guys that rely on the feeding cross in order to create a goal scoring opportunity. It also increases the value of talented players that have the ability to innovate in tight spaces on the pitch. Clint Dempsey, among the rest of the more-talented Sounders team, was able to create some wonderful passes and feeds while the NYCFC defenders just looked awkward.
File this little bit of info away for when the NYCFC have another home game and amaze your friends with all those winning leagues. The Chicago Fire come to Yankee Stadium on May 15.
Till next time, enjoy the beautiful game and follow me at @Deepdfspicks.