Yesterday, New York City FC announced its schedule for the 2024 MLS season. NYCFC will begin its season on February 24 away at Charlotte FC. With six matches against Western Conference opponents and several midweek games, New York City has one of its toughest schedules in club history.
Here are the top five NYCFC games you cannot miss during the 2024 MLS season.
5. NYCFC vs. St. Louis City SC, March 2
New York City will travel to Missouri to take on last season’s expansion team for the first meeting between the two teams. NYCFC will play at the newly opened CITYPARK stadium on Matchday 2 of the MLS 2024 season. Last season, St. Louis finished top of the Western Conference but crashed out of the MLS playoffs in the first round.
With the likes of Roman Bürki and João Klauss, it will not be an easy game for NYCFC, who will face a tough test early in the season. It will be interesting to see how NYCFC matches up against St. Louis, which features a high-press style of play.
4. NYCFC vs. Austin FC, July 6
New York will face another Western Conference opponent in Austin for the first time. NYCFC will play in Austin’s new Q2 Stadium in what should be a prime matchup at the start of July.
After finishing second in the Western Conference in 2022, Austin struggled last season and did not make the playoffs. It was also a tough season for former New Yorker Alexander Ring, who was stripped of his captaincy and seems to have fallen out of head coach Josh Wolff’s favor. Brad Stuver also plays for Austin and is the team’s starting goalkeeper.
It will be nice to see Ring play against his former team at the start of a brutal away slate for New York. This game will happen close to the start of the League Cup and in the middle of the 2024 Copa America competition.
3. Inter Miami CF vs. NYCFC, September 21
The first home game on this list is Lionel Messi’s debut at Yankee Stadium. With kick off scheduled for 2 p.m. on a Saturday, it will surely be a packed house in the Bronx.
NYCFC recently won 2-1 against Messi and Miami on November 10. The game was a friendly honoring Messi’s eighth Ballon d’Or, but New York was able to keep Messi quiet and win on the road.
This will be a fun game to watch, especially due to the fact that Messi will be playing soccer on a baseball field. Let’s see if Yankee Stadium’s pitch dimensions play a role in Messi’s style of play.
2. New Jersey Red Bulls vs. NYCFC, May 18
The Hudson River Derby comes to Queens! New York will face the Red Bulls after a midweek road game against the Philadelphia Union. This may be advantageous for the Red Bulls, but Citi Field will be rocking for the 28th edition of the Hudson River Derby.
NYCFC is winless in its last three games against the Red Bulls, so a derby win near the start of the summer would set the vibes at an all time high. It is likely that the Hudson River Derby games will take place at Citi Field from now on, with the progression of New York’s first soccer specific stadium right across the street. More Red Bull fans may also travel out to the game.
1. Portland Timbers vs. NYCFC, March 9
It was tough to decide between this game and the Hudson River Derby in Queens for the number one spot, but the rematch of the 2021 MLS Cup for NYCFC’s home opener was a no-brainer.
With another 2 p.m. kickoff on a Saturday, expect Yankee Stadium to be rocking from start to finish. Besides that day in Providence Park in December 2021, New York has historically struggled against the Portland Timbers, with its last victory coming in 2016.
NYCFC will be coming into this game off the back of two away matches against Charlotte and St. Louis City. The aforementioned games will not be easy, meaning that New York could be returning to the Big Apple looking for its first win of the season. It would be nice to see NYCFC secure another win against the Timbers and continue its undefeated record in home openers.