The entire Pacific Northwest is currently girding for record-high temperatures through the weekend, with Seattle expected to top out over 100 degrees Saturday, Sunday and Monday. For a city that has only topped 100 degrees three times in its entire history, these are particularly alarming numbers.
“Those people that don’t believe in global warming need to catch up on the news,” Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer told the media on Friday.
Game-time temperatures for the Sounders are expected to be over 90 degrees for what’s currently slated as a 6:11 PM kickoff, and there’s a good chance it will be the hottest professional soccer match ever played in the region.
️ Some hot, sweaty footy marks set to fall this weekend:— Frank MacDonald (@frankmSounders) June 24, 2021
Record high temp for Sounders home start: 91 v Colorado, 2015
Rec high for Reign at home: 84 v Boston, 2014
Rec high for S2/Defiance home: 90 v Vegas, 2018 (at Tacoma)
Despite all of this, the Sounders aren’t currently planning to shift game-time even though moving it back to 8 PM would likely result in a roughly 6-degree temperature drop and, even more notably, result in temperatures closer to 80 degrees by the end of the game.
In an effort to mitigate the weather, the Sounders did move kickoff back a few minutes, as that would allow for more of the field to be in shadows for the entirety of the match.
“They had heat monitors,” Schmetzer said of the preparations being made. “We’ll take a water break if needed. We feel safe. I feel safe. Lumen Field will do a good job of keeping the players safe.”
The players don’t seem particularly worried, either. From a purely competitive perspective, neither team is likely to have any built-in advantage as the Vancouver Whitecaps are equally unaccustomed to this sort of weather and are also at the end of a three-game week.
Centerback Shane O’Neill noted that playing in hot weather is just sort of the deal in a league like MLS that has a bunch of teams located in warm cities that play in the summer. O’Neill, for instance, spent two seasons with Orlando City, where average highs in the summer months are often in the 90s and the humidity is often around 60%.
“I don’t think it’s going to be as bad as that,” he said. “There was some carnage in Orlando. I think we’re going to be OK.”