The Fire’s bid to advance in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup has to wait. Wednesday’s fourth-round match against the Columbus Crew at Toyota Park was postponed due to inclement weather.
Heavy rains, lightning and reports of tornados nearby eventually led to Minos Vlamakis, match commissioner for U.S. Soccer, calling the match at 8:30 p.m. It had been scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. but dangerous weather wouldn’t permit it.
"We wanted to keep the integrity of the Cup in mind,’" said Vlamakis. "There was no reason to wait for 11 or 12 o’clock (to see if the weather cleared).’"
Instead the match was rescheduled for a noon start on Thursday. Fans will be admitted free. A similar situation occurred in 2006, when the Fire had to postpone an Open Cup match against Kansas City by one day because of bad weather. There was no debate about Wednesday’s decision.
"Both teams were in agreement that this is in their best interests as well as that of the fans," said Vlamakis.
"We can’t control the weather, and safety comes first,’" said Fire coach Frank Klopas. "Both teams wanted to play, and we can’t start late (Thursday night) because there’s going to be a concert and the people (at Toyota Park) have to get ready for it.’"
The B96 Summer Bash is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Saturday, but stadium workers need time to prepare for it.
Columbus suffers more from the postponement, since the Crew has a Major League Soccer match on Saturday. The Fire has a reserve match on Friday, but doesn’t return to MLS play until the Colorado Rapids come to Toyota Park next Wednesday.