Free admission Thursday for Fire’s postponed Cup match
By Seth Gruen For Sun-Times Media June 12, 2013 11:42PM
Chicago Fire head coach Frank Klopas has been dismissed. | Getty Images
Updated: July 15, 2013 7:36PM
The Fire and Columbus Crew were willing to wait out severe weather through the night in order to play their fourth-round matchup in the U.S. Open, scheduled for Wednesday night.
But by 8 p.m., 30 minutes after the scheduled kickoff, U.S. Soccer made the decision to postpone the game until noon Thursday. Entrance for the game will be free to all fans.
Neither team even attempted to warm up as lightning was seen at least an hour prior to the scheduled kickoff and radar showed inclement weather would continue in the area throughout the night.
U.S. Soccer was presented with somewhat of a logistical problem when it came to rescheduling the game. The tournament mandates that any postponed game be played within 24 hours of its scheduled kickoff, barring inclement weather.
The preference would have been for the two teams to play Thursday night, but there is a concert scheduled at Toyota Park during that time which also requires that stadium personnel have time to prepare a stage.
To further complicate matters, the Crew has an MLS game scheduled against the Montreal Impact on Saturday, which creates a difficult turnaround for the visiting team.
“To keep the integrity of the Cup in mind, there’s no point in waiting for an 11-11:30 p.m. kickoff when both teams want to know what’s going on,” said Milos Vlamakis, match commissioner for the U.S. Open Cup.
“Both teams were in agreement that that’s in the best interest of not only the safety of the players but the fans and everybody especially with these lightning strikes.”
Both teams were required to submit an 18-man dress list prior to the game. However, the cancellation of the game allows either coach to alter his lineup.
Columbus is unlikely to make any changes to its lineup considering it would have to fly players in last-minute.
“We can’t control weather and I think safety comes first,” Fire coach Frank Klopas said. “We wish the decision could have been made sooner but I think they did it as fast as they could. Both teams wanted to play.”