Generic Red Bull Arena interior shot 2017

When New York City FC play their first Concacaf Champions League home game in club history, it’ll occur at the home ground of the New York Red Bulls, their Hudson River Derby rival.

NYCFC and Concacaf announced Friday that their Feb. 26 match against Costa Rican side AD San Carlos will be held at Red Bull Arena. Yankee Stadium and Citi Field were unavailable to host the match, prompting a search from NYCFC executives for a suitable destination. 

NYCFC immediately identified numerous other potential venues within the five boroughs while working closely with Concacaf and MLS. Ultimately, none of the options the club submitted were approved, leaving Red Bull Arena as the only approved venue within a reasonable distance of New York City.

Tickets will be free to all 2020 City Members. Members will receive a complimentary ticket for every full season seat on their account.

"We do feel it is important for the game to be played at a venue in the greater metropolitan area, providing our fans with the opportunity to attend in person and support the team if they choose," said NYCFC CEO Brad Sims in a club statement.

“Our focus now is to win and advance to the next round of the competition," he continued. "We understand and acknowledge this move causes inconvenience to our loyal fans. In light of these circumstances, we will make admission free to all 2020 City Members."

The match will serve as the second leg of their CCL Round of 16 matchup against AD San Carlos, with NYCFC one of five MLS teams in the 2020 version of the continental tournament. 

Should NYCFC advance, though, either Yankee Stadium or Citi Field are available for subsequent rounds pending the Concacaf approval process.

"As the premier soccer venue in the region, we are proud to be selected by Concacaf as a host venue," said Red Bull Arena VP of operations Shaun Oliver in a statement. "Our staff is familiar with hosting a variety of third-party events, including Concacaf Champions League. We look forward to providing all of our guests, fans, staff, and players, an excellent soccer experience."

Since NYCFC won’t be playing at Yankee Stadium for this CCL game, new head coach Ronny Deila’s debut at the venue is now likely March 14 against FC Dallas. The first two matches of NYCFC's 2020 MLS season are on the road, with an opener at Columbus Crew SC on March 1 and a trip to Toronto FC on March 7.

Since joining MLS in 2015, NYCFC have played at Red Bull Arena in the Hudson River Derby on nine occasions. They hold a 1-7-1 record at the venue.