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NYCFC will play Champions League ‘home’ match in Los Angeles

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NEW YORK (AP) — MLS Cup champion New York City FC will cross the country for a “home” match in the CONCACAF Champions League.

NYCFC plays Costa Rica’s Santos de Guápiles in the Champions League round of 16. The second leg will be played on Feb. 23 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, home of LAFC.

NYCFC cannot play the match at Yankee Stadium or Citi Field, its home venues, because they are not CONCACAF-approved. Additionally, Red Bull Stadium is not available because of renovations.

The decision to move to Los Angeles was made because NYCFC is playing its Major League Soccer season opener at the LA Galaxy on Feb. 27.

“It is frustrating that this home game will be played on the other side of the country,” NYCFC chief executive Brad Sims said in a statement Tuesday. “However, with our season opener at LA Galaxy only a few days later and our inability to play at Yankee Stadium or one of our alternative home venues, we felt that this arrangement gave our club the best possible chance for two positive results that week as we look to do well in (the Champions League) and begin the defense of the title.”

NYCFC’s first leg against Santos will be played at the National Stadium in San Jose, Costa Rica. That game was relocated because the team’s home field in Guápiles also isn’t approved for CONCACAF play.

NYCFC is coming off a victory over the Portland Timbers in the MLS Cup championship last month. The team reached the quarterfinals of the 2020 Champions League but fell to Mexico’s Tigres.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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