Houston ties Chicago in match shortened by nasty weather

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This doesn’t happen often, where MLS matches are abandoned due to weather, but it’s not unprecedented.

Houston’s soggy visit to Chicago was interrupted twice Sunday night by severe weather. Officials called off the match after the second interruption, declaring the 1-1 draw official after 65 minutes.

Before the weekend, I asked for clarification on MLS bad weather procedures and policies. In an email exchange, league spokesman Will Kuhns told me a match can be declared final once it reaches halftime, but that every effort is made to finish the contest if conditions become safe.

He also said the decision to halt play primarily belongs to the referee, with input from the 4th official and stadium personnel, who are watching radar and immediate forecasts. Once play is suspended, decisions on resuming a match are agreed upon among the referee, stadium staff and MLS officials.

Almost a year ago, FC Dallas and Los Angeles finished a match after it was delayed by more than an hour by lightning. It was a controversial decision (for the Galaxy, at least), but quickly became pushed to the back of everyone’s mind when, about 20 minutes after the match, the President of the United States announced Osama bin Laden had been killed.

Matches in CONCACAF Champions League and the U.S. Open Cup have also been affected through the years.

As for Sunday’s match: Houston will be delighted with the result. Dominic Kinnear’s team was missing three-fourths of its starting midfield. The goal Chicago did score was off a deflected free kick.

Houston plays three more matches in its extended road streak to begin the season (pending completion of BBVA Compass Stadium, which opens May 12).

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