HARRISON, N.J. – New York Red Bulls manager Hans Backe did not say “I told you so,” but probably wanted to.
A day after telling reporters the kickoff time of the second leg of the Red Bulls-D.C. United Eastern Conference Semifinals should be moved up or postponed because of a looming storm, heavy snowfall forced a 45-minute delay at Red Bull Arena, and MLS eventually called off the match.
It has been rescheduled for Thursday night at 7:30 pm ET. It will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.
For Backe, the decision to delay the match confirmed what he and his staff believed all along.
“[The staff] said it was going to peak around 8 to 10 or around those hours, so it wasn’t a surprise,” Backe told reporters on Thursday. “In my opinion, this was a very easy decision to postpone a game. You can’t see the lines, it’s not football playing on these conditions, risk for the health of the players.
“It’s a different sport, you can’t do it because this pitch is not heated. If it was a heated one, then probably you could have done it.”
Before the match was postponed at approximately 9 pm, Backe was adamant during an interview with NBCSN’s Kyle Martino that he wanted the game rescheduled. The field was completely covered in snow during warm-ups, and although the groundscrew attempted to shovel it clear, the heavy snowfall did not let up.
D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen told reporters he thought the surface was still playable, but Backe disagreed, concerned about how the slick, snowy surface would affect the result and possibly the health of his players.
“Then it’s all about luck, some individual mistakes, or anything that will decide the game,” Backe said. “It’s a conference semifinal, it has to be more serious.
“We saw during the warm-up that when they tried to do some quick feet and kind of stop sprints, how careful you have to be. You slide or whatever, a guy is late in a tackle and suddenly you pick up an injury. It’s no problem just to postpone it until tomorrow.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com.