UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. -- Weather is not done wreaking havoc on the New York Red Bulls vs. D.C. United Eastern Conference playoff semifinal series.
After the wrath of Hurricane Sandy on power at Red Bull Arena caused the flip-flopping of the venues for the two-leg series, a nor'easter is set to strike the NY-NJ area on Wednesday and could impact the decisive second leg (8 pm ET, NBC Sports Network). Forecasters say the storm will pack heavy rain, potential snow and winds of 50-60 mph.
"I'm a little bit surprised that the league stuck to an 8:21 pm as a kickoff instead of perhaps moving it to 3, 4 o'clock in the afternoon," NYRB Hans Backe told media after practice on Tuesday. "Because what I've heard is that it [the nor'easter] will peak around 8:00, 8:21. Rain, windy, perhaps snow and then the game probably has to be cancelled and played on Thursday."
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According to the league, MLS and the Red Bulls discussed potential alternatives, including an earlier kickoff, but settled on the 8:21 pm start time. The latest Weather.com forecast indicates that the conditions will be just as bad in the afternoon as in the evening.
League matches have been suspended in the past when weather conditions make the field unplayable in the discretion of the referee.
The league confirmed that in the eventuality that Wednesday's game is suspended, play will eventually be resumed at the minute the action was halted and the match played in its entirety, regardless of the minute or half in which the suspension occurs. In non-playoff matches, the result is final if a game is suspended at any point after halftime.
"If it peaks around 8:20, when we start, or 9 o'clock, I don't know how bad it will be," Backe continued. "But it's thought to be not as [bad as] the last one [Hurricane Sandy], but still a bad storm … That's the worst thing is to play when it's windy. Wind is absolutely the worst way to play."