The 2024 schedule of New York City FC regular season matches has been announced.
The regular season begins and ends on the road, with a February 24 opening match away to Charlotte FC, and Decision Day north of the border against CF Montréal on October 19.
In between, NYCFC will play nine home matches in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium and six in Queens at Citi Field, with two early October fixtures at venues still to be determined due to the unknown availability of either baseball stadium due to the MLB playoffs.
Fixtures across MLS will still largely be held on Saturday nights in 2024, with the league set to continue the kickoff synchronization it introduced as part of the shift of match broadcasts and coverage to AppleTV.
While 7:30 pm on a Saturday starts remains the norm, the NYCFC home schedule does feature three afternoon kickoffs, as well as three random Friday night matches at Yankee Stadium. The club's home opener will be held at 2:00 pm on Saturday, March 9, as the Portland Timbers, runners-up to NYCFC in 2021 MLS Cup, travel to what will likely be a chilly, still-winterish Yankee Stadium.
Schedule release days always bring with them some excitement and anticipation for the season ahead, offering chances to plan away days and circle significant matches on the calendar, and the arrival of the 2024 schedule is no different.
Once again you can check out the full NYCFC schedule here, and be sure to read on for 5 Takeaways of note from the schedule release.
1. First Queens derby
Citi Field will host its first-ever installment of the Hudson River Derby on Saturday, May 18 at 7:30 pm. Queens will become the regular host of the blue side of the rivalry once New York City's Willets Point soccer stadium opens in 2027, but 2024 will give the borough a first taste.
NYCFC went winless in their three meetings with their New Jersey nemeses in 2023, so this first match at Citi Field will represent a chance to reverse that disappointing record from a season ago.
The reverse fixture in Harrison, New Jersey, where NYCFC have won as the away team just twice across nine seasons and 16 matches, will take place on Saturday, September 28 at 7:30 pm.
That late September trip to Jersey is also a scheduling departure for the Hudson River Derby, as in each season from 2021-2023, NYCFC hosted the Red Bulls in September at Yankee Stadium.
2. Obligatory NYCFC vs. Messi section
One team that will face NYCFC at Yankee Stadium in September: Lionel Messi's Inter Miami CF.
The Argentine legend is scheduled to make his first MLS trip to New York City on Saturday, September 21 for a 2:00 pm kickoff in the Bronx.
What will ticket sales look like for the spectacle of Messi at Yankee Stadium?
Already NYCFC is pushing a premium "Marquee Match Pack" ticket deal that guarantees access to the Miami game plus the home opener, a Leagues Cup match, and the rivalry meetings with Red Bull and the Philadelphia Union. That package doesn't come cheap, as the lowest-priced individual tickets in the pack come in at $80 per seat before taxes and fees.
Last season, the club's highest-attended home match was when 30,615 were announced as attending the 1-1 draw with Columbus Crew SC at Yankee Stadium on June 17. It would seem likely a visit from Inter Messi would clear that number of tickets sold, especially given the sizable turnouts for him last season in large American football venues in Chicago and Charlotte.
Messi Mania won't be exclusive to that September visit to Yankee Stadium, as NYCFC travel to Ft. Lauderdale to face Messi, Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba on April 1 at 7:30 pm, what will be just the sixth match of New York City's season.
3. Away day debuts
That away trip to South Florida on April 1 will no doubt be a popular one among traveling fans, but the 2024 NYCFC schedule also brings with it first-ever trips to two recent MLS expansion cities: St. Louis, Missouri and Austin, Texas.
CITYPark in St. Louis will host NYCFC's first-ever meeting with St. Louis City SC on Saturday, March 2 at 8:30 pm, the second game of New York City's season.
That shiny new downtown St. Louis stadium happens to have been designed by HOK, the architecture firm handling the designs of the NYCFC Willets Point stadium, so away fans who make the trip get the extra benefit of doing some preliminary on-site NYCFC stadium research.
NYCFC fans have been clamoring for a regular season meeting with Austin FC since the the club's founding, and especially since Austin has featured a number of New York City connections: Claudio Reyna left NYCFC to become Austin's first sporting director, Alexander Ring was traded from NYCFC to Austin and became their first-ever club captain, and Brad Stuver went from a backup at NYCFC to Austin's steady starting goalkeeper. Austin also just hired a longtime member of City Football Group, Rodolfo Borrell, to be their new sporting director.
The two somewhat interconnected clubs will finally meet in a real match (they played a closed-door friendly this season down in Austin, remember), though not under the most ideal of conditions for the visitors: NYCFC travel deep into the heart of Texas in the dead of summer, facing Austin at 8:30 pm on July 6.
The one West Coast trip New York City makes in 2024 is to visit the LA Galaxy, though it's a somewhat inconvenient Wednesday night meeting set for June 19 at 10:30 pm.
4. The gauntlets
The 2024 season will feature six different stretches that see NYCFC play three matches in the span of just eight days, with both of next year's installments of the Hudson River Derby falling within congested parts of the schedule.
The home meeting in Queens with the Red Bulls in May comes on the heels of a Saturday, May 11 trip north to face Toronto FC, then a midweek jaunt down I-95 to Chester, Pennsylvania to face the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday, May 15. Rotation and man-management will be vital, as that first-ever Citi Field derby on May 18 will come with short rest.
That away trip to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy on Wednesday, June 19 is also sandwiched between a home Friday night game against the reigning MLS Cup champion Columbus Crew SC on June 14 and a quick-turnaround trip from LA to Nashville the following Saturday, June 22.
July then presents its own challenges, as the summer month sends New York City on the road for four consecutive away matches—in Austin, Chicago, Atlanta, and Orlando—before MLS pauses to play in the 2024 Leagues Cup. The long July road trip is somewhat balanced out by NYCFC playing five consecutive matches at home starting on April 6 when they host Atlanta United at Citi Field.
The end-of-season run-in after the Leagues Cup wraps up is also looking very daunting for New York City. The trip to face DC United on Saturday, September 14 kicks off back-to-back stretches of three-games-in-eight-days for NYCFC, stretches that include games against Inter Miami, Philadelphia Union, the Red Bulls, and FC Cincinnati.
5. Other tournament troubles
Speaking of Leagues Cup, it's one of three tournaments that need to be discussed while covering the highlights of the 2024 NYCFC schedule. The opponents NYCFC will meet in the next installment of Leagues Cup, and when and where they'll play them, are still to be determined.
Leagues Cup 2024 kicks off on Friday, July 26 and holds its final on Sunday, August 25, with no league games played in that month-long window.
The second installment of this new MLS-Liga MX competition starts just 12 days after a champion is crowned in the 2024 Copa America, which is taking place in the United States—and which is getting played through by all MLS teams, as the league continues to not pause for most major international breaks or competitions.
Copa America starts on June 20 and runs through July 14, so somewhere between six to seven scheduled NYCFC matches in this period could be impacted by international absences if, say, Jamaica's Tayvon Gray or another one of the club's internationals is away on Copa America duty.
There's also the ongoing kerfuffle over the 2024 US Open Cup and whether or not MLS senior squads will participate in it. The schedule for the 2024 Open Cup tournament would have MLS teams joining the competition starting on April 16, which falls right in the middle of that lengthy NYCFC early-spring homestand.
Will it be NYCFC's first team, or NYCFC II from MLS NEXT Pro, playing in this year's Open Cup? That remains unresolved and a highly contentious subject, but we at least now know how the rest of the 2024 MLS schedule fits within the plans for next year's other planned tournament.