Sunday night’s nationally televised showdown between the Sounders and NYCFC felt like a big-time occasion, the 25,384 fans enjoying the spring sunshine providing plenty of colorful background noise from the start.
NEW YORK CITY – Tucked in a cove behind the center-field fence is the Yankees’ famed Monument Park, a museum of busts and plaques bearing the names of some of baseball’s greatest players — Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Lou Gehrig.
There is history at Yankee Stadium, even at the scrubbed and sparkling new one.
Problem is, New York City FC, Major League Soccer’s newest attempt to elbow its way into the country’s largest media market, doesn’t have any of its own.
NYCFC is clearly the guest in somebody else’s house, in case the tight field and conspicuous hump of the pitcher’s mound beyond the near sideline weren’t enough to clue you in. The proof is right there in the stadium’s name.
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That’s not to say the club’s less-temporary-than-first-thought home is all bad. Sunday night’s nationally televised showdown between the Sounders and NYCFC felt like a big-time occasion, the 25,384 fans enjoying the spring sunshine providing plenty of colorful background noise from the start.
“It was really cool, to be honest with you,” Sounders midfielder Andy Rose said. “When we were up 3-1 in the last 10 minutes, I got a chance to really enjoy it. The crowd was up for it and there was a fantastic atmosphere.”
The tight field wasn’t as much of a problem as it looked on TV, the players promised afterward, especially once they settled in. If anything, the narrow dimensions contributed to Sunday’s manic, action-packed showdown by funneling players into the middle.
The fans had fun with the unique setup, especially the travelling ones. The Sounders section drowned out the final whistle with a rendition of Take Me Out to the Ballgame — one, two, three strikes you’re out for the three goals that led to Seattle’s victory.
Yes, playing at Yankee Stadium is a thrilling novelty, especially for visiting teams.
But that shine is going to wear off eventually. It’s up to the club to establish something more meaningful before it does.