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New York Red Bulls II (temporarily) moving back to Red Bull Arena in 2018

There’ll be II team soccer at RBA in 2018, for six match days at least.

Soccer: FIFA World Cup Qualifier-Costa Rica at USA Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, January 19, New York Red Bulls II announced its 2018 USL schedule, along with the news that it will be moving back to Red Bull Arena for the opening months of the season.

The relocation to the first-team’s home ground is due to an upgrade to the reserve team’s current home field, MSU Soccer Park. The 3,500 capacity stadium will be upgraded to 5,000 seats. RBNY also announced there will be new locker rooms and new turf installed at the facility.

NYRB II was believed to have the USL’s lowest attendance - average (632) and total (10,113 - essentially one poorly attended game at Red Bull Arena) - in 2017. Still, those paltry numbers represented a modest improvement over the team’s reported average and total attendances for 2015 and 2016 - when it played at Red Bull Arena.

Adding 1,500 seats to MSU Soccer Park seems to be slightly overcompensating for the attendance boost enjoyed during NYRB II’s inagural season in its new digs. But we can assume the upgrade to the stadium is not the team’s response to having welcomed roughly 2,000 more spectators over the course of a season than it had previously experienced. Rather, we can assume the increased capacity is necessitated by the fact USL stadium guidelines set a 5,000-seat minimum on home fields for the league’s member clubs.

Presently, the II team seems unlikely to draw 5,000 to any home game except the USL Cup final - and it would likely prefer to play a Cup final at Red Bull Arena, if permitted. But rules are rules, and NYRB II will be playing in a USL-compliant stadium by early June, if all goes to plan.

Until then, the II team will be back in Harrison. A total of six USL home games are currently expected to be played at Red Bull Arena in 2018. One of the scheduled dates coincides with a MLS home game for the first team.

March 17 - vs TFC II

March 31 - vs Charleston Battery

April 14 - vs Tampa Bay Rowdies (RBNY also playing Montreal Impact at RBA)

May 6 - vs Nashville SC

May 27 - vs Indy Eleven

June 2 - vs FC Cincinnati

NYRB II is scheduled to return to MSU Soccer Park on June 9th for a game against Charlotte Independence.