N.Y.C.F.C. Moves Final Home Game to Citi Field

The Yankees’ 5-2 victory over the Indians on Wednesday night, which sent them to the American League Championship Series, was thrilling news for their fans.

New York City F.C. supporters, though, might not be celebrating quite as much.

For the second time this season, New York City F.C. has been forced to move a home match to accommodate a conflict with a Yankees game. This time, it is the soccer team’s regular-season finale, against Columbus on Oct. 22, which the team on Thursday announced would be played at Citi Field in Queens.

The change, like the one that sent N.Y.C.F.C. to East Hartford, Conn., on Sept. 23 to face the Houston Dynamo, is a matter of logistics. Switching Yankee Stadium from soccer to baseball, and vice versa, requires a three-day turnaround.

Since baseball’s postseason involves more work than usual — temporary seating is often installed near the dugouts, encroaching on what would be the soccer field, and sophisticated logos are sometimes painted or mowed into the turf — the teams determined that even if the Yankees’ series ended in time for the soccer match, a hurried switch would be unworkable.

Instead, New York City F.C. will head to Citi Field, which has hosted both international and club matches since opening in 2009. When Italy’s Juventus and Mexico’s Club America played a friendly there in 2011, the field was oriented from the third-base dugout to the right-field wall.

Resumen Juventus vs Club América 2011 HD
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An N.Y.C.F.C. official said the team and the Yankees, who regularly meet about scheduling issues as a result of their stadium-sharing arrangement, began seriously exploring moving the Columbus game several weeks ago — even before the Yankees had played their first postseason game.

An agreement with the Mets was reached over the weekend, before the Yankees wrapped up their series win over the Indians, and included an escape clause in the event the Yankees failed to advance to the A.L.C.S.

But now they have, and even if that series ends before the soccer match — Games 4 and 5 of the best-of-seven A.L.C.S. against the Houston Astros are scheduled for Yankee Stadium on Oct. 17 and 18 — team officials decided that moving the game now was the best option.

Even in the case of a four-game sweep, the turnaround would have been tight. But if the Yankees swept the Astros, the Stadium would need to be prepared for the World Series, and for any Yankees practices preceding it.

Making the change now, the soccer team said, would allow the teams and their fans to prepare accordingly and allow preparations at Citi Field — including ticketing, operations and the installation of the soccer field — to begin immediately.

Once the decision was made, Citi Field, which was unavailable when the team moved its September match, was deemed the best solution for a fan base that draws heavily from New York City’s five boroughs and relies on mass transit to attend games.

“While we are happy for our partners, the New York Yankees, we understand that relocating a home game is a significant challenge for fans,” Jon Patricof, the New York City F.C. president, said in a statement. “We feel Citi Field will give our team the best chance of success on the field and provide a good environment for our incredible fans.”

The stadium switch might not be the last one this season, if the Yankees reach the World Series, which is scheduled to open Oct. 24 with a potential Game 7 on Nov. 1. N.Y.C.F.C. has clinched a berth in the Major League Soccer playoffs, and in its current position — second in the Eastern Conference — it would have a bye in the first-round elimination games, which are scheduled for Oct. 25 and 26. If N.Y.C.F.C. is in the second round of the playoffs, it will have a home game on Oct. 30, 31 or Nov. 1.

And Citi Field might not be available. It is scheduled to be transformed into a nine-hole golf course for a “Stadiumlinks” event from Nov. 3 to 5.