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Sounders were eager to play: ‘We’re Seattleites, we’re not afraid of the rain’

Sounders match against the Philadelphia Union postponed due to heavy rains.

Last Updated
2 min read
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Sounders are used to playing in rainy conditions. But rarely have they been exposed to anything quite like what they encountered against the Philadelphia Union at Subaru Park on Saturday.

Although rain had been falling throughout the day, the field seemed reasonably playable when players came out for pregame warmups. By the time the game was just about five minutes old, however, conditions had deteriorated to the point that ball was barely moving. Referee Erick Lezama Pavon paused the game at that point, ordered that it be delayed after about 15 minutes and ultimately made the decision to postpone until a future date when conditions showed no signs of improving.

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer said the players were eager to continue playing, but admitted that the right decision was made.

“We’re Seattleites, we’re not afraid of the rain,” Schmetzer told reporters after the decision was made. “It was just the continued rain and the condition of the field eventually made it unplayable.”

The two teams will now have to agree on a rescheduled date, at which point the match will pick up where it left off. That includes using the same players who were on the field at the time of the postponement. MLS rules suggest that only players who are unavailable due to injury or roster status can be replaced, and only by teammates who were on the gameday roster. Injured players like Albert Rusnák, João Paulo and Stefan Frei can not be used when the match resumes.

Ideally, that would have been on Sunday, but the Union are already scheduled to leave for Pachuca, Mexico for the second leg of their Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16 series that is scheduled for Tuesday.

“I’m not sure if there was a competitive advantage lost,” Schmetzer said. “At the end of the day, I think that’s a good outcome. There are a few dates we’d put forward, but that’s out of my hands.”

The next time both teams are potentially free is on May 1, which would also allow the Sounders to couple the trip to the East Coast with their match against D.C. United on April 27. But that is also a CCC semifinal date. If the Union are still playing the only way to avoid playing during a CCC or U.S. Open Cup date while also avoiding FIFA windows would be to play the game on July 24, which is the same day as the MLS All-Star Game.