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MLS game in CT; New York City moves home game with Houston to East Hartford

Members of the New York City Football Club celebrate after beating New England in extra time recently. NYC will be moving a home game to East Hartford in September. (Photo courtesy NYFC via Facebook)

For the first time, a regular season Major League Soccer game will be held in Connecticut. New York City FC, which plays their home games at Yankee Stadium, is moving a home game to East Hartford’s Pratt and Whitney Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23.

New York City will be facing the Houston Dynamo at 3 p.m. on Rentschler Field. NYC is moving the game because a New York Yankees game against Kansas City in May had to be rescheduled due to rain. The soccer club, which is partially owned by the Yankees, plays their home games at Yankee Stadium.

Rentschler Field has hosted several U.S. national men’s soccer and women’s soccer matches. Most recently, the facility hosted the U.S. men’s team in a 2-1 win over Ghana on July 1.

The East Hartford facility was selected after an extensive search by the NYC club.

For Sporting Director Claudio Reyna, it was the best option to replicate a NYCFC home game.

“Pratt & Whitney Stadium is a great venue for us due to its wonderful playing surface and facilities,” Reyna said. “Hartford is a great soccer city which has hosted many important international games – I played there in a couple of games for the national team many years ago – and it was always a wonderful place to play with a fantastic atmosphere and environment.

Jon Patricof, president of the NYC club, said, “We have worked very closely with Houston and MLS to find an alternative venue prioritizing our supporters and sporting department. While we understand this will be an inconvenience for some, we are confident we have put together an excellent variety of ticketing and transportation options for our fans.”

All fans that have tickets to the match on September 23 will have the option to exchange their tickets to another regular season home game at Yankee Stadium or receive a refund.

The game pits two of the top teams in MLS. New York City, now playing in their third season, is second in the Eastern Conference with a record of 14-7-4 while Houston is third in the Western Conference with a record of 10-8-7.

After the game, New York City will have just four games remaining in the regular season.

It’s not the first time a MLS team has played in the state. The Tampa Bay Mutiny played a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game here in 2001 in New Britain’s Veterans Memorial Stadium against the Connecticut Wolves and were upset by the home team, 3-2. They also played an exhibition game against the Wolves in New Britain.

The New England Revolution have played four U.S. Open Cup games in Connecticut – all in New Britain. The Revolution beat the Carolina Railhawks in the U.S. Open semifinals in 2007 on the way to winning the tournament championship. New England also beat Richmond Kickers, 3-0 in the third round of the 2008 U.S. Open Cup. A week later, New England returned to beat Crystal Palace of Baltimore on penalty kicks to advance.

The Revolution lost to the Harrisburgh City Islanders in June 2009, 2-1, in the U.S. Open Cup.

Click here for more information on getting tickets for the game.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years.

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