Atlanta United’s game against Charleston in the fourth round of the U.S. Open Cup was postponed on Tuesday because of unplayable field conditions at MUSC Health Stadium.
Charleston President Mike Kelleher said they are going to attempt to play the game at noon on Wednesday at the College of Charleston. Kelleher was leaving the stadium to go look at College of Charleston’s field. It has rained in Charleston for the most of the past four days and is expected to rain again on Wednesday.
The Battery posted this at 11:15 p.m. on its website:
“Under the advice of U.S. Soccer's match commissioner, and the appointed officials, tonight's U.S. Open Cup match was canceled due to unplayable field conditions prior to kickoff.
“The Charleston Battery immediately reached out to alternative venues in the area exploring the possibilities of playing the match within 24 hours. Unfortunately, and in addition to deteriorating weather conditions in the Charleston area, this option was not possible. We will update with further news on the game after consultation with U.S. Soccer.”
An official decision will be announced no later than noon on Wednesday.
U.S. Open Cup rules dictate “If a match is cancelled because of weather or other act of God, the match must be rescheduled for the next day unless mitigating circumstances prevent this. In the event that the game cannot be rescheduled for the next day and the teams involved cannot within 24 hours of cancellation reach agreement on a new match date that is within 7 days of the originally scheduled date, the Commissioner will set the date.”
The game officials, led by referee Kevin Broadley, met on the field for more than an hour before meeting for a final time and then walking off the field near 7:30 p.m., which is when the game was supposed to start. Weather for the Charleston area features rain for the next several days.
The battered field featured 10 large areas with no grass that were filled in mostly with sand to try to make the mud less slippery. The poor patches were the the result of almost near-constant rain for the previous four days, combined with the results of game played on June 8.
Before the game, Atlanta United manager Frank de Boer came out to kick a ball through the patches to see the effect. A game official tried to run and stop in one sandy area. He slid for at least a foot.
De Boer was not made available to comment on the field conditions.
Atlanta United has experienced several games that have been affected by poor conditions. The game at Columbus was played in a rain so heavy that at times it was difficult to see the other side of Mapfre Stadium.
College of Charleston’s soccer stadium is located at Patriots Point. It features a grass field. Atlanta United trained at the stadium in 2017 and 2018 when it participated in the preseason soccer tournament hosted by Charleston.
Atlanta United did put in a bid or request to host this game in the U.S. Open Cup. The game was instead awarded to Charleston. Atlanta United has put in a bid or request to host a fifth round game, should it advance. That fifth-round game would be held at Kennesaw State’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
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