Previewing NYCFC’s CCL clash against Santos
By Joseph Gucciardo
New York City FC and their fans have a lot to celebrate after the club has wont their first MLS Cup, and that means there will be an early end to the club’s offseason.
The boys from the Bronx will have an early start to their 2022 campaign, as they will play as part of the CONCACAF Champions League for the second time in their history as a club.
For the Round of 16, NYCFC have drawn against Santos de Guápiles, who have earned their first-ever berth in the CCL. The draw for the Round of 16 was completed back in mid-December.
Where and when?
NYCFC and Santos will play two legs in the Round of 16. The first leg will take place on February 15 at the National Stadium Of Costa Rica, with kickoff scheduled for 8:00pm ET.
With Yankee Stadium not up to standard for the CCL, and Red Bull Arena under renovations, NYCFC have elected to play the second leg of the Round of 16 at Banc of California stadium, which normally serves as the home of Los Angeles FC. The second leg is scheduled for February 22, with kickoff scheduled for 6:00pm ET.
Although confusing and disappointing for fans of the newly-crowned MLS Cup Champions, NYCFC’s selection of Banc of California Stadium as a match site may be because they open the MLS regular season four days after the second leg against Santos, in a match against the LA Galaxy in California.
A look at the opponent
In their 2020-21 campaign, Santos de Guápiles had a successful domestic campaign, managing a second-place finish in the Clausura, but finished the Apertura in a disappointing 11th.
At the time of writing, Santos sit third in the Apertura behind Alajuelense and Herediano.
Other Round of 16 matchups
The Round of 16 for the CCL features some familiar opponents of NYCFC. Other MLS clubs that will be joining the Boys in Blue include the Colorado Rapids, Seattle Sounders, CF Montreal, and the New England Revolution, who NYCFC eliminated from the MLS Cup Playoffs in the second round.
New England has been paired against Haitian side Cavalry, while Montreal has drawn Santos Laguna. Seattle will be facing Honduras side Motagua, and Colorado have drawn Guatemalan side Comunicaciones.
You can find all of the Round of 16 pairings below.