Since their inception, New York City FC‘s stadium situation has been ripe with criticism. The club has been playing on what many consider to be a makeshift pitch over at Yankee Stadium, corporately branded as the ‘Etihad Pitch‘ whenever the Boys in Blue take to the field. Common criticisms against City’s pitch typically involve its size, which many swear is smaller than FIFA regulations require, which is 110 yards long and 70 yards wide. The team’s historical dominance at the venue, including their silence in regards to the criticism, haven’t helped either.
This “small pitch” theory, however, is based on nothing but conjecture and rumors. There is no actual evidence that confirms claims that NYCFC plays on a smaller-than-allowed pitch, only the angry rantings of managers who have to visit and rival fans.
Recently, NYCFC soundly defeated Atlanta United 2-0 in the First Round of the MLS Cup Playoffs. The Night Owls struggled to create much offense in the first half, but saw a huge surge in the second that saw them through. For the most part, it was considered a great show of tactical prowess on City’s part. Unfortunately, per usual, some fans of the other team immediately took to social media to complain about — you guessed it — the pitch size.
An analyst has confirmed that Yankee Stadium’s pitch meets the minimum requirements by FIFA
Unfortunately for them, some pundits wouldn’t accept their excuses and quickly jumped into the ring to declare their grievances null and void. Grant Wahl of CBS Sports posted on Twitter, saying that he has personally measured the width of New York City FC’s pitch and confirmed that it is indeed 70 yards wide, meeting FIFA’s 110 yards by 70 yards requirement. Glenn Crooks — former Rutgers’ women’s soccer coach and current NYCFC play-by-play radio announcer — confirmed Wahl’s claims, saying that he personally had walked the pitch a number of times and maintains that it’s 70 yards wide.
Of course, this wasn’t enough for some people to get rid of their tinfoil hats. But to further support claims that City’s pitch is indeed legal, Twitter user @DLNewRoc posted a picture of the pitch, using Google Earth to make the measurements. Sure enough, it came in at 210.72 feet, good for 70.24 yards.
Well, that settles that! Stay tuned to Skyscraper Blues for updates on the new excuses teams will use when they lose in the Bronx. My money is on City players having steel-toed boots!