TORONTO — With FC Dallas leading Toronto FC 1-0 at halftime in CONCACAF Champions League Group C action on Wednesday night, a downpour of biblical proportions and enough lighting to illuminate the Toronto skyline forced the match to be abandoned.
According to CONCACAF rules, the match, which has been rescheduled for Thursday morning at 10:15 am ET at BMO Field, will be replayed in its entirety, meaning the score will be reset to 0-0 and the teams will have to play a full 90 minutes.
“Everybody saw that it was storming and lightning and, of course, you respect all the rules,” said Toronto head coach Aron Winter after the abandoned 45 minutes. “Then, when the game is delayed, there is time to wait to try to replay the game. … We’ve tried [to wait out the storm] but the forecast didn’t change in the end. I think the decision that was made was correct decision.”
Jackson had staked Dallas to a 1-0 lead in the 18th minute. Left back Jair Benítez launched a long ball over the Toronto defense and into the box that a streaking Jackson met on the fly and first-timed a chip over ‘keeper Milos Kocic.
Toronto had a chance to equalize in the 27th minute, but Torsten Frings put a right-footed shot from the center of the box over the goal.
The first weather delay came at 8:40 pm ET, 32 minutes into the match. The game resumed at 9:15 pm and the two sides finished off the first half.
The intensity of the rain only grew stronger and, when lightning joined the fold during halftime, it was announced that the start of the second half would be delayed. Although the fans were evacuated from the stadium shortly after, the match remained on delay until about 11:30 pm ET, when it was officially called off with the second 45 yet to be played.
The waiting game affected both team's concentration.
“It’s very difficult because in the moment, you’re in the locker room, you’re really focused to play the game,” said Winter. “But if you have to wait because circumstances don’t allow you to play the game, you are not focused any more, you are waiting. And even then, when you are waiting, you’re not warm anymore.”
This is the second time a match at BMO Field has been postponed. On May 25, the second leg of the Nutrilite Canadian Championship between Toronto and Vancouver was abandoned due to rain, with the Whitecaps leading TFC 1-0 (2-1 on aggregate) in the second half.
Toronto went on to win the July 2 replay 2-1 (3-2 on aggregate) to take home the Canadian championship and a claimed the spot in the preliminary round of the Champions League.