DCU, Red Bull playoff series rescheduled

DCU, Red Bull playoff series rescheduled
October 31, 2012, 6:30 pm
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Due to the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy, Major League Soccer requested that D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls switch their home matches in the upcoming two-match Eastern Conference semifinals.  DCU will now open the series at home on Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m. and their originally scheduled November 7 match in Washington will now be played that night in New York at 8 p.m.

"This was a tough decision but one that is much bigger than the sport of soccer,"  said league commissioner Don Garber.  "Hurricane Sandy is an epic and unprecedented natural disaster, one that continues to affect all of us who live in the New York, New Jersey and tri-state area.  Most of us are still without power and with limited access to communication."

Much of New York City and New Jersey remains without power and with severe flooding in some areas.  The league offices remain closed and have been without power since Monday.  While flood waters reached Red Bull Arena, the stadium did not experience any interior water damage but has relied on backup generators since the storm hit.  

"We thought at the end of the day it was in both parties' best interest to find a suitable alternative," said New York Red Bulls General Manager Jerome de Bontin.

Many attendees rely upon PATH trains to travel to Red Bull Arena.  With the entire New York Subway system, including the PATH, suspended, De Bontin assured that Red Bull is working with the city to find alternative transportation for their Wednesday home match should the PATH still be unavailable.  

"This will have a competitive impact on D.C., we understand that and deeply appreciate their support," said Garber.

Tickets purchased for the November 7 match at RFK will be honored for the newly schedule home game on Saturday or will be refunded.  Both matches will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network.  In addition, both clubs have agreed to allow a greater ticket allotment and more flexible seating options for visiting fans.  

"Our fans in the past have responded very quickly when we've had playoff games with quick turnarounds," said D.C. United President and CEO Kevin Payne.  "We think that we still have among the best fan bases in the league and we are entirely confident that our fans will come out and give us the home field advantage that we would have enjoyed Wednesday night."

"I think that there are very few teams in Major League Soccer that could pull something like this off," said Garber.  "Part of our willingness to go down this path was the confidence that we have in Kevin [Payne] and D.C. United and, frankly, the passion of their fans."

The league hopes that Red Bull Arena will be ready to host the second match of the series come Wednesday.  According to De Bontin, the club expects to have full power back by Monday, though league officials will look for a suitable alternative in the area should their power not be restored.