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Report: NYCFC nearing new Bronx stadium deal

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According to a report by David Waldstein of the New York Times, Major League Soccer club NYCFC is close to a deal with New York City for a privately financed soccer-specific stadium in the Bronx.

The report states that the stadium would be located just minutes down River Avenue from Yankee Stadium where NYCFC has called home for its first six years of existence, with its seventh season set to begin later this month.

This news comes on the heels of the embarrassing announcement earlier Friday that NYCFC will play its upcoming CONCACAF Champions League game against Costa Rican club San Carlos at Red Bull Arena, the home of cross-town rivals New York Red Bulls. The club, in its announcement, attempted to save face by announcing that tickets would be free to all NYCFC season ticket holders due to “the inconvenience of playing outside of the five boroughs,” a thinly veiled shot at RBNY’s remote location.

Waldstein’s report cites a statement by James Patchett, the president of New York City’s Economic Development Corporation, who says that it “sees value in the proposal” but says nothing has been formally finalized. The report also states that the project has the backing of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio.

The 25,000-seat stadium would reportedly be just one key part of a $1 billion project that would change parking lots into affordable housing units, a school, a hotel, a waterfront park, and other commercial enterprises.

“It’s long past time to make the underutilized parking lots around Yankee Stadium into something more,” the Economic Development Corporation said in its statement via a representative. “The city has been approached by a team of affordable housing developers, the Yankees and the N.Y.C. Football Club. A deal has not been reached and more conversations are needed. We are hopeful for a future where these lots can better serve the community. The first step toward achieving that is engaging the community on their needs and vision for this area.”

NYCFC also confirmed the discussions on the record, and while their statement was far more cautious, the fact either party would go on the record at all is a very positive sign. According to the report, should the deal pass through the necessary hurdles, construction would likely not begin until 2022, meaning the stadium would not be ready for game action until an estimated 2024.

Liverpool allows two more goals in Sporting draw

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Liverpool’s still working out the kinks after surrendering two more goals against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday at Yankee Stadium.

Simon Mignolet allowed a howler to Bruno Fernandes, who set up Wendel for an equalizer after Liverpool had taken a 2-1 lead on goals from Divock Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum.

[ MORE: Key questions for 20 PL clubs ]

The result means the Reds have allowed two or more goals in all three of their U.S. based friendlies (3-2 loss to Borussia Dortmund, 2-1 loss to Sevilla, and Wednesday’s draw).

The Reds have also beaten Bradford City and Tranmere Rovers, and are yet to see Roberto Firmino, Mohamed Salah, and Sadio Mane in the lineup.

Last season’s preseason wasn’t perfect, it must be noted, but the Reds only once lost and allowed multiple goals (A 3-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund).

The rough night in defense came after the news that Nathaniel Clyne will be lost until at least January with an ACL injury.

On a bright note, a young Liverpool defender said hello to the club after moving from PEC Zwolle this summer.

NYC manager Kreis responds to Yankee worries about stadium grass

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The New York Yankees know that New York City FC is about to do a number on the Yankee Stadium grass, and they’ll deal with that.

Asked about their concerns, NYCFC manager Jason Kreis said he can’t really comment on it. After all, he’s never played baseball at that high of a level.

[ MORE: JPW talks soccer with Kreis ]

And he says it’s not his place to talk.

From Empire of Soccer:

“My reaction [to the WSJ report] is one of non-understanding to be frank with you because I have never played baseball at that level,” Kreis said Wednesday afternoon. “I don’t know what it means for the grass to be a certain way in baseball.  I certainly know what it means to want the grass to be a certain way in soccer.  We want the field to be as pristine as we can.  Natural grass surface with a tightly mowed grass can be one of the most enjoyable surfaces to play on.

“We want the same thing for our surface, but for me to try to understand or comprehend someones comments who plays the sport at a high level is not my place, if that makes sense.”

Kreis was more interested in discussing how it will feel to manage the club at Yankee Stadium. After a long, long wait, the MLS managerial legend will sit in the coach’s chair for a home match. We can’t wait to watch, either.

Yankee players on NYCFC use of Stadium: “It’s terrible for the field”

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Several Yankee players have expressed their displeasure in the New York City FC use of Yankee Stadium throughout the summer.

With NYCFC’s journey for a permanent home still in the works, they are scheduled to use Yankee Stadium for all home games this season and next. Their home opener comes this weekend, and some Yankees aren’t too pleased.

“It’ll definitely cause an issue, but it’s nothing that we can control, so we can’t worry about it,” said Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira to the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Barbarisi. “It’s terrible for a field. Grass, dirt, everything gets messed up.”

Barbarisi’s story tabbed infielder Brendan Ryan as the baseball team’s biggest soccer fan, and even he wasn’t looking forward to the thought of soccer affecting the infield, specifically the hop off the infield grass.

“You want to limit the amount of bounces, really,” Ryan said. “So I’m going to fall on the side of erring aggressively—much, much more so than staying back and trying to read some hop that’s unpredictable. I’m going to be selling out to go get that ball, and I’m going to err on that side much more.”

The most damning quotes came from outfielder Brett Gardner, who was mostly concerned with what he believes to be a higher risk for injury.

“The problem is the root system. After you put new grass down, there’s no root system, so essentially you’re running full speed on top of AstroTurf that’s sitting on top of cement,” Gardner said. “And that grass will give way, and you blow something out—knee, ankle.”

Of the 17 home games NYCFC will play at Yankee Stadium this season, only one will give the grounds crew less than three days to turn around the field from one sport to another. NYCFC president Tom Glick is not concerned with what he believes to be a system the grounds crew is well prepared for. “We’ve tested it out last two summers…and we believe the field will be able to handle both events,” Glick told the Journal.

New York City FC open entire Yankee Stadium for inaugural MLS home game

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The opening weekend of the 2015 Major League Soccer season was a rousing success, if you take record-setting attendance numbers (25,838 average at 10 MLS stadiums) as an indicator of the league’s growing popularity.

[ MLS: Week 1 TOTW | POTW ]

With a number of teams set to make their 2015 home debut this weekend, big numbers are expected once again, particularly in the Big Apple, as New York City FC announced on Monday that the entire upper level of Yankee Stadium has been opened up for ticket sales ahead Sunday’s inaugural home game against the New England Revolution (5 pm ET, ESPN2).

The regular capacity for NYCFC games at Yankee Stadium this year will be 27,528, but with more than 30,000 tickets already sold, Sunday’s opener looks a safe bet to push into the mid- to upper-40,000s in tickets sold.

[ MORE: After 62,000 for Orlando’s inaugural game, is soccer here to stay in Florida? ]

NYCFC president Tom Glick, from a team statement:

“Demand for seats for this historic game has been tremendous and momentum is growing by the day. It was only 10 days ago that we announced that the 300 level will be open. Now with more than 30,000 sold, we have decided to open even more seats. New Yorkers clearly want to be part of this landmark moment for our club and for soccer and we are giving them every opportunity to come and support their new team.”

NYCFC also announced on Monday it has reached 15,000 season ticket holders for the 2015 season. According to the club, more than 60 percent of those fans have never purchased season tickets in any sport in the city.