Mar 22, 2013, 11:39 PM EDT
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – So what will we call this one? “La Guerra Blanca,” perhaps? That is, The White War … a la the famously frigid win over Mexico in 2001 known as “La Guerra Fria?”
Whatever we all call it, Friday’s World Cup qualifier outside Denver will be remembered for two things: a 1-0 win over Costa Rica in a night of weather madness, where the United States got its World Cup qualifying effort back on track, even if the result was down to an early goal and survival from there.
Mostly, of course, a memorable night was made by the harsh elements. The game resembled soccer in a snow globe.
The fluffy stuff began about three hours before kickoff at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. It had started to stick as goalkeepers came out for warm-ups. Two snow plows worked hard to get some of the field cleared by kickoff – How about about that, Red Bull Arena … snow plows? – but it was more or less fruitless by halftime.
There was even some questions about whether this one might get postponed. One international match, Northern Ireland vs. Russia, had already been postponed Friday.
As for the decision making authority …
An official FIFA match commissioner on site presides over all decisions and disputes, everything from uniform color to the more important matters such as weather conditions. So the call belonged to Victor Daniel, from Grenada, right up to kickoff. From there the decision belonged to referee Joel Aguilar of El Salvador.
By the 30th minute, the Costa Rica bench begin chatting up the fourth officials, gesturing to the lines and such, presumably complaining about the match going on.
The players were clearly struggling with footing and with … well, with everything.
So, should the match have even been played? The upcoming schedule applied some pressure on the choice. It could have been postponed a day, but the weather forecasts call for lots more snow on Saturday, so that made little sense.
U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe said the choice of moving the game back two days was problematic due to the match upcoming against Mexico on Tuesday. To play on Sunday, fly on Monday and then play again at powerful Mexico on Tuesday would be soccer suicide.
With conditions getting no better, and the Costa Ricans still complaining, Aguilar stopped the match briefly at about 55 minutes. It was only, as it turned out, to clear the lines and then resume play.
It looked to everyone as if Aguilar might be stopping the game. “That’s why I went on the field a little, with my bad Spanish, [to say] ‘there was no way we are stopping this game. ‘ “
Buethe announced to the press that previous information had been incorrect. In fact, a match abandoned due to weather would be resumed at the exact point at which it was called off. At the 76th minute, U.S. Soccer passed the word that FIFA’s match commissioner had declared that the contest would be completed.
U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said there was no discussion prior to the match about not going ahead with it.
So, should the match have been played. Said Gulati: “It’s up to the referee and match commissioner. We got it in. No injuries. I’d say the answer is “yes.’ “
Oct 25, 2014, 10:31 PM EDT
Final: New England Revolution 1, Toronto FC 0
Oct 25, 2014, 9:49 PM EDT
AS Roma defender Ashley Cole has drawn the interest of MLS teams once again.
Oct 25, 2014, 8:48 PM EDT
Cristiano Ronaldo praises manager Louis van Gaal and is convinced that the 63-year-old will lead Manchester United to its former glory.
Oct 25, 2014, 7:23 PM EDT
Short recap and highlights of Saturday’s Round 9 Premier League matches.
Oct 25, 2014, 7:08 PM EDT
With three games on the slate, here’s what you can look forward to on Sunday.
Oct 25, 2014, 6:18 PM EDT
Final: Montreal Impact 1, D.C. United 1
Oct 25, 2014, 5:23 PM EDT
The Chicago Fire are seeking to bolster the strength of their roster, examining the possible signing of ex-Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Jaime O’Hara.
Oct 25, 2014, 4:55 PM EDT
A sleepy game for over an hour, Seattle and L.A. used the last hour to stage a contest worthy of a trophy-winning event.
Oct 25, 2014, 4:29 PM EDT
Pique speaks of his handball in Barcelona’s 3-1 defeat to Real Madrid: “It was unintentional.”
Oct 25, 2014, 3:47 PM EDT
The L.A. Galaxy and Seattle Sounders are scoreless through 45 minutes at CenturyLink in Washington.
Oct 25, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT
Leeds United have fired manager Darko Milanic after only 32 days leading the squad.
Oct 25, 2014, 2:59 PM EDT
Several fun games whet the appetite for a massive top of table Sunday tilt between Bayern Munich and Borussia Monchengladbach.
Oct 25, 2014, 2:29 PM EDT
With six games on Saturday in the PL, here’s what happened.
Oct 25, 2014, 2:20 PM EDT
Wilfried Bony scored both goals for Swans, 2-0, who cruised to the win against the suddenly-struggling Foxes.
Oct 25, 2014, 2:07 PM EDT
Will the Sounders handle the Galaxy and expectations to clinch home-field throughout the playoffs?
Oct 25, 2014, 1:54 PM EDT
“Maybe they [Stoke] created two possibilities, not chances and that’s a great team effort,” Koeman said of his Saints.
Oct 25, 2014, 1:47 PM EDT
Despite going behind earlier, Real came roaring back to win the first El Clasico of 2014-15.
Oct 25, 2014, 1:28 PM EDT
Watch and enjoy, then follow the second half live on NBC and online via Live Extra.
Oct 25, 2014, 12:59 PM EDT
Neymar and Ronaldo stealing the show so far, as four on yellows for Barca. Live updates, here:
Oct 25, 2014, 12:48 PM EDT
Pellegrini magnanimous in defeat, but City could be eight points off top spot by the end of the weekend.
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