New York City FC 2015 Schedule – Quick Reaction

ScheduleFor fans, especially season ticket holders, today’s MLS schedule release warranted special attention even in a generally chaotic news day for the league. It’s a first glimpse at what’s ahead for 2015, and a framework for the narrative to come.

Here’s a quick summary of my thoughts after briefly reviewing NYCFC’s schedule:

Three Home Games I’m most looking forward to:

  1. New York Red Bulls, June 28th (Sunday, 5pm). This one requires very little explanation – it’s the second scheduled meeting for these local rivals, and the first in New York City.
  1. Seattle Sounders, May 13th (Sunday, 7pm). NYCFC fans won’t see the defending champions LA Galaxy in the Bronx in 2015, but Seattle is the next best thing in terms of Western Conference competition. Clint Dempsey is also the biggest US National Team star we’ll see in Yankee Stadium this year.
  1. Orlando City FC, July 26th (Saturday, 2:30pm). First home game against that other 2015 expansion team, and also a chance to see Brazilian star Kaka. This is also the only really prime scheduling so far on the season – mid-day on a summer Saturday. Love it.

 

Three Gripes:

  1. No LA Galaxy game. As mentioned above, the champs aren’t scheduled to visit New York City this year. It’s too bad for a few reasons. First, you always want a chance to watch the defending champions in person. It’s just a fun opportunity and a extra level of excitement. Second, Los Angeles is one of the highest profile teams in MLS. Championship aside, they’re a big time, compelling opponent. Finally – and this is more of a personal gripe – NYC fans won’t get a chance to see newly signed Steven Gerrard in person. As a Liverpool fan I would love the opportunity to see Stevie G come through town. Unfortunately we’ll have to wait until 2016 for that. The Galaxy will visit Red Bull Arena in April, but Gerrard isn’t scheduled to arrive in the US until July.
  1. It’s a Sunday/night game heavy schedule. There are only six games scheduled for Saturday, and right now only one of the 17 home games is a true afternoon game (Orlando, 7/26). My preference is always to have early afternoon games on Saturday. Doesn’t disrupt evening plans, no work the next day, it’s just a convenient situation. Nine of the home games are listed as “TBD” for time though, so this could still swing dramatically.
  1. All of the New York rivalry (does this thing have an official name yet?) games are on Sunday. Again, a personal gripe. I understand these are high profile games and MLS probably wants to give them the primetime television treatment. But it would be nice to have at least one on a Saturday so us working stiffs could “unwind” a bit before and after.

 

Notable Player Gaps:

The roster isn’t finalized yet, but we have a pretty decent idea who the big stars will be. David Villa is around all year, no issue there. Frank Lampard will stay with Manchester City through the end of the season and is reportedly joining NYCFC in July. That means, at a minimum, Lampard will miss the first 17 games of the season. The first game in July is the 4th at Montreal; I think it’s more likely he’ll make his debut at home against Toronto on the 12th. We’ll see.

The other consideration is the 2015 Gold Cup. If the rumors are true, Mix Diskerud will be joining NYCFC in the near future. He’s also basically a lock for the United States Gold Cup roster. I’m not totally sure how much pre-tournament training these players are required to participate in, but the actual event takes up basically the whole month of July and it’s fair to assume that USA will hang around for a while. Add in some prep time and some recovery time and the team will likely be without Diskerud (if he signs) for about two months, or roughly 8-10 games.

NYCFC isn’t the only team shipping players off for national team duty though, and Diskerud isn’t the only loss for NYC ticket holders. Toronto FC’s Michael Bradley will almost certainly be on the US roster as well (Captain?) which means New York will probably miss him twice – they’re scheduled to play June 20th and July 12th. From a competitive standpoint it obviously benefits NYC to have two games against Toronto while Bradley’s gone. In terms of pure entertainment, it’s a letdown. Toronto isn’t exactly a team I catch on TV much, so I was looking forward to their matchups with New York. I guess that’s another thing that’ll have to wait until next year.

 

Road Trip Potential:

This is one area where fans are very fortunate, the schedule is favorable for almost all of the regional road games. NYCFC visits Philadelphia twice, on April 11th and June 6th. Both games are on Saturday – 7pm start for the June game, TBD for April.

They get New England on Saturday as well – July 18th at 7:30 PM.

The DC road game is Friday, October 2nd at 7pm. Probably requires a half-day at work Friday, minimum, but at least you can make a weekend out of it.

As mentioned above, neither of the road games at Red Bull Arena super-convenient, but they’re manageable. Both are Sunday at 7pm – the May 10th game will be the first ever matchup between the rivals. The second takes place on August 9th.

One other notable thing is that the two New York clubs don’t overlap at all on their home games. I figured there would be at least one date on the schedule where both teams played at home, but I didn’t see anything on a quick side-by-side check. On the downside there’s no opportunity for a New York area double-header. Although it does mean soccer fans can get season tickets for both if they’re really committed to watching live soccer.

Back this weekend with more on the Mix Diskerud news, Mike Petke’s firing, etc. Until then let’s hear your thoughts in the comments below.

 

 

*Photo from Dru Bloomfield’s Flickr

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