MLS • Rain makes Whitecaps' grass field unplayable.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Brett Steele moved to Seattle from Salt Lake City several months ago, and he traveled to Vancouver with a group of friends hoping to watch Real Salt Lake play the Vancouver Whitecaps in a Major League Soccer game Saturday.
Taylor Fuegote did him even better.
Fuegote drove from Salt Lake City to Seattle, then took a five-hour train ride to Vancouver to attend the game. But, like Steele and a handful of other RSL fans who made the journey, he learned the unfortunate news along the way the game was postponed because steady rain had made the temporary grass at Empire Field unplayable.
"We're devastated," Steele said via Twitter, "but will try and make most of it."
The Whitecaps had installed the temporary grass in preparation for a friendly against Manchester City of the English Premier League on Monday. Officials said in a statement that the recent rain, combined with "limited options for drainage," forced the postponement and that the game will be rescheduled "in the near future."
League spokesman Will Kuhns said "ultimately, it was the league's decision" to postpone the game "after consulting with the clubs and officials."
Coach Jason Kreis didn't disagree, saying he and his staff were able to walk along the sideline before the game was postponed.
"In our opinion, it was probably a pretty good decision," he said. "The grass was pretty long, and there was water coming up every time we took a step."
Still, RSL's Robbie Russell said on Twitter that he'd never had a game postponed in his entire career, while fellow defender Nat Borchers called it "bizarre."
"Lots of questions for the suits," Borchers said.
Kreis acknowledged that "there is a leg to stand on for saying that it could be a forfeit because [Vancouver] is responsible for providing a playing surface that we can play on. With decisions to play international friendlies could come some accountability for what that is going to mean for your league games."
RSL doesn't have an open Saturday on its schedule until Oct. 8, a date reserved by FIFA for international games. At some point, that could lead to a midweek makeup game.
RSL's next scheduled game is at home against San Jose on July 23.