Soccer at Citi Field: A Look Back

citi field soccer

NYCFC's regular season finale against Columbus Crew SC this weekend may be the next soccer match to take place at Citi Field, but it certainly isn't the first. 

READ: 9 Reasons to Attend: NYCFC v. Columbus

In fact, the Queens stadium has hosted some pretty big match-ups in the past. International bangers featuring European and South American contenders like Chile, Ecuador, and Greece have graced the Citi Field pitch. So, too, have the likes of Juventus and Mexican giants Club America. 

Let's take a look back:

Greece vs. Ecuador

June 7th, 2011

The first-ever soccer match held at Citi Field was an international friendly featuring two teams very close to the hearts of many who hail from Queens. The storied Greek-American and Ecuadorian-American populations of the borough were treated to a high-energy showing that finished one goal apiece. 

In front of over 39,000 fans (and plenty of vuvuzelas), Greece midfielder Alexandros Tziolis headed home the opening goal in the 16th minute. The Greeks, at this point in time, were at the top of their UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying group. They had gotten there not by outscoring their opponents, but icing them out. 

However, the Ecuadorian contingent of supporters would see their team draw level via a Fricson Erazo header in the 59th minute. That's how this one would end, signaling a fruitful future for the beautiful game at Citi Field. 

ICYMI: #NYCSI Social Recap

Juventus vs. Club America

July 26, 2011

The second-ever match at Citi was probably the highest-profile footballing event at the stadium. Italian world-beaters Juventus and legendary Mexican side Club America squared off in front of over 20,000 supporters during the 2011 World Football Challenge. 

In a hard-fought contest which featured none other than Andrea Pirlo bossing the midfield for Juventus, the Italian club prevailed by way of a vicious volley into the top right corner from Cristian Pasquato in the 42nd minute. 

Club America would have their chances, most notably a quick counterattack that was finally snuffed out by way of a Gianluigi Buffon save from close range. In the end, though, they couldn't draw level, and Juve walked out with a dose of World Football Challenge glory. 

Ecuador vs. Chile

August 15, 2012

Over a year passed until the next serving of footy at Citi Field, and this one proved to be worth the wait... if you were an Ecuador supporter. 

31,901 fans witnessed masterclass performance from Ecuador which ended in a 3-0 victory over their South American rivals. The action started almost right away, as Narciso Mina slammed in the opener just nine minutes into the match. Jaime Ayovi followed that up with another strike to double the lead just five minutes later. 

Jefferson Montero capped off the night in the 68th minute, tallying Ecuador's third of the night to assert their dominance on the occasion. It couldn't have been a better night for La Tricolor or their fans, who made up a decisive majority of the Citi Field crowd. 

Israel vs. Honduras

June 2, 2013

The fourth and (until this weekend) final footballing match-up hosted by Citi Field was an international friendly that finished 2-0 to Israel. 

These two nations faced off in front of over 26,000 people who were, due to their countries' colors, all clad in blue and white. Israel made their first footballing trip to the United States since 1978 count, even though they had to wait until after halftime for their breakthrough. 

That breakthrough finally came in the form of a strike into the top left corner courtesy of Hen Ezra, who brought those supporting him and his Israeli teammates to their feet in the 52nd minute. 

Though Honduras had more fans in the stadium, it was the Israel supporters who were once again given something to cheer about in the 76th minute, when Abihazira Shimon scored his side's second goal to ice the match. 

REWIND:Closing Out Against Columbus

You can bet that there will be plenty more blue—this time just a bit darker and paired with Orange—at Citi Field again this Sunday, when NYCFC takes on the Columbus Crew in search of much more than just a friendly result.  

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