It might be crazy to think about, but New York City FC will be back to playing competitive football in February as part of the 2022 CONCACAF Champions League in which they will face the best competition there is to offer in North America. NYCFC qualified for the 2020 CCL, but complications due to COVID-19 and a depleted squad hurt them against the overmatched Tigres.
This year, NYCFC will not be facing Tigres. As a matter of fact, Tigres didn’t even make the tournament. But plenty of teams have made the tournament in 2022, and pose stiff competition to the Boys in Blue who look to become the first MLS club to win the continental championship.
The draw took place on December 15, in which NYCFC was one of the top-8 ranked teams in Pot 1. Per a random draw done by Mexico’s Moises Munoz and San Jose Earthquakes legend Chris Wondolowski, NYCFC drew Santos de Guápiles of Costa Rica. This is the second straight time NYCFC has drawn a Costa Rican club for the CCL Round of 16 — City previously drew AD San Carlos in their 2020 appearance.
While this is NYCFC’s second berth into the tournament, this will be Santos de Guápiles’ CCL debut, qualifying by being the 2nd best losing quarter-finalists in the 2021 CONCACAF League. Domestically, Santos de Guápiles finished a lowly 11th in the Apertura, but finished 2nd in the Clausura.
On paper, this is a game that favors NYCFC without a doubt. Though Santos de Guápiles are a talented club, they aren’t far off from AD San Carlos, whom NYCFC easily dispatched of in 2020.