When New York City FC faced Toronto FC earlier in April, the Pigeons lost to the Reds after a controversial match. After a VAR review, a given penalty kick was overturned, and NYCFC was later told that the reversal should have never occurred.
Now, the Bronx side had a chance to enact revenge, and get another must needed win. And, for the first time this season, they played a home fixture at Citi Field. In the 2019 playoffs, Toronto defeated NYCFC at Citi Field, so there was even more pressure to grab all three points, and put a stop to the Canadian team’s four-game unbeaten streak.
After an offensive masterclass, the Pigeons beat Toronto, winning 5-4. Despite being without Maxime Chanot, Thiago Martins, and Maxi Moralez, the team was able to hold on and secure all three points. It was not pretty toward the end, but the crazy win will certainly be a memorable one for years to come. It was also another historical win, for it was the first time the team came back after being down 2-0, and won.
There is a lot to unpack with Sunday’s win. Here are three things we learned from the match against Toronto.
3. Citi Field is the better alternative for New York City FC
Over the last two seasons, New York City FC was forced to play multiple games at Red Bull Arena. In 2020, it was mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the condensed seasons for both the New York Yankees and NYCFC. In 2021, the New Jersey stadium was the chosen alternative for when the Pigeons could not play at Yankee Stadium. Fans of course were not pleased with this, and most boycotted the New Jersey fixtures.
This year, the majority of the alternative fixtures will be played at Citi Field, as it was the case on Sunday. More supporters made the trip to Queens, for if it was at Red Bull Arena, then likely only a few thousand would have trekked out to New Jersey. In fact, most of the games in New Jersey back in 2021 only saw around 2,000 to 3,000 in attendance.
Realistically, the number of those attending games in the Bronx is not as high as NYCFC would probably like, but for those outside the city, getting to either stadium usually means a day trip. As a result, attendance numbers tend to be lower. Still, over 17,000 attended the game on Sunday, which concludes fans are happier with the option of going to another stadium in New York City. Additionally, they are not playing at their rival’s home, so that makes everything better.
Not only is Citi Field better than Red Bull Arena from the fan point of view, but also for the players. They know as well that they are not playing at the Red Bull’s home. Also, they are playing in another baseball stadium, so there is that familiarity for when they play in Queens.
Hence, supporters got to witness NYCFC win in another baseball stadium. Hopefully, Queens will become a fortress like the Bronx, and the Pigeons will continue to have success there too.