UPDATE: The conference call is done and the solution’s been announced. As fallout from Hurricane Sandy, D.C. United and New York have swapped home legs of their Eastern Conference semifinal. Saturday’s opener, originally scheduled for Red Bull Arena, will take place at RFK, with New York now hosting Wednesday’s second leg. Steve has more on the implications, below. -rf
According to The Washington Post, officials from the New York Red Bulls and D.C. United will hold an afternoon conference call to discuss this week’s playoff match scheduled for Saturday in Harrison, N.J., one of the areas affected by Hurricane Sandy.
The Red Bulls issued this understandably vague statement yesterday, essentially saying the arena emerged without major damage but that not much else had been decided.
Wednesday, just after 1 p.m. ET, Steven Goff reported in his Soccer Insider blog at The Post that officials would huddle today, and he suggested that a decision would need to be made this afternoon if schedules were to be altered.
The teams could switch game days in their two-leg, home-and-away series, with Saturday’s game being played at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and next week’s contest going to New York.
(MORE: full MLS playoff schedule and post-season explainer)
But that would remove a small, competitive edge that D.C. United earned by virtue of being the higher (No. 2) seed in the East: If the aggregate score is tied after both matches, a 30-minute extra time will decide the series (followed by penalty kicks if necessary.) If the series venues are reversed, New York would get the home-field advantage in the 30-minute extra time should it come to that.
There are also network TV concerns; Saturday’s match is scheduled for NBC Sports Network.
Suffice to say the choices aren’t easy, because there are a lot of moving pieces – and a lot of them don’t involve a soccer game. What D.C. United president Kevin Payne told Goff:
They were originally told they might not get [electricity] back until Monday, but I would obviously be concerned if the PATH train service isn’t running and you have to think about the emergency service workers and what they are going through right now. Do they really want to now deal with a special event on the weekend where they have to dedicate half of the police force of Harrison to traffic control? It’s a tough situation.”