On Tuesday, after quite a few weeks of waiting, New York City FC and the rest of Major League Soccer announced the regular season schedule for 2023. As always, fans were hyped for the release, and it is a welcomed Holiday gift.
Not only does this give fans the ability to plan their schedule around the matches, but it also permits the planning of long weekends for away games, or even full on vacations. At the same time, most fixtures will happen on Saturdays in the evening, so it makes scheduling a little easier for all of the teams, and supporters.
For NYCFC, the schedule release is a big deal, for it shows when they will play their rivals, the New York Red Bulls, but also where they will play throughout the year. As it is known, the team recently announced they will build a stadium in Queens. But, that will not be ready until 2027 at the earliest, so the club and supporters will likely be the Traveling Pigeons for a few more years.
So, let’s take a brief look at the schedule.
The New York City FC 2023 schedule was finally released
To begin, New York City FC will open the season on February 25 away to Nashville SC. The Pigeons last faced the Music City side in 2021, and have a 0-1-1 record against them. It should be an exciting match, and a great way to start the 2023 campaign.
The home opener will then take place at Yankee Stadium on March 11 against Inter Miami CF. The Florida side will likely be looking to take revenge after NYCFC beat them in the playoffs, so like the season opener, it should be a fun and exciting game.
At the end of the season, the final fixture will be against Chicago Fire FC at home. Hopefully the Bronx side will have clinched a playoff spot before Decision Day. However, if they are fighting for a spot, then this will likely be a stressful day for the supporters. It is unknown how Chicago will be in 2023, but previously, the Pigeons have had matches where they struggled against the Fire.
Meanwhile, excluding the start of the season in February, the Pigeons will play just two regular season games in October due to the international break. That includes the final fixture against Chicago, and then D.C. United. In some ways, it is the least busiest part of the schedule.
On the other hand, there is no true busy month for the regular season matches. However, it is expected that July will be quite busy for NYCFC. Not only do they play four regular season matches, but it will also be the start of the Leagues Cup, where MLS and Liga MX play one another.
In fact, the MLS season will pause for about a month for the Leagues Cup. Whether the Bronx side gets a break will depend on how far they progress in the tournament. Ideally, they will perform well.
When are the 2023 New York derbies?
Of course, the fixtures the fans care about the most are the two against the Red Bulls. The red side was swept in the 2022 regular season, for New York was declared blue in both games. As such, the Pigeons will look to continue the streak when they play the first Hudson River Derby of 2023 in New Jersey on May 13. The second one will be at home on September 16. Both fixtures should draw large crowds, as they do every year. Whether it ends in a win, draw, or loss, any fixture against the New Jersey team is a hectic, crazy, and downright insane.
For the most part, the schedule is pretty even in regards to difficulty. It is very mixed throughout the season. Furthermore, like last year, NYCFC will face each Eastern Conference side twice, but play six times against six Western Conference sides. There are quite a few notable matches too, from the first one against the Philadelphia Union, to the away match against the Portland Timbers.
Finally, NYCFC will play more away fixtures in the first half of the season. But then, they will play seven of their final ten matches at home, either at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field. In fact, the Pigeons will play nine games at Yankee Stadium, and six at Citi Field. Two of the final home games are to be determined, so in other words, it depends on the playoffs for the Yankees and Mets.
There is quite a lot to look forward to, and the release of the 2023 schedule for New York City FC means that fans are one step closer to the new season.