The damage that super Hurricane Sandy has done to the North East has been incredible. With winds blowing at or over 90 MPH, the devastation it left in its wake has been unthinkable. Seeing many towns from Maryland all the way up to New York City and Long Island losing homes, then into New England is a sad moment.
Everything being shutdown including the Subway trains in lower Manhattan and the PATH system with the tunnels flooded with sea water will make it impossible to get to Red Bull Arena, as the power has been shut down within the Harrison/Newark area since late Monday afternoon.
Thankfully the stadium only suffered minor damage as rumors spread around Twitter that the winds destroyed the roof and the field was flooded. Those rumors were false, as new general manager Jerome de Bontin announced that everything is in good shape and is ready for play.
But sadly the power will not return until Monday, November 5th, meaning that the Red Bulls would have to find a suitable change in venue because DC United finished second and will host the second leg as the Red Bulls would play the first leg. Met Life Stadium was a thought, but the New York Giants in the NFL were already scheduled to host the Pittsburgh Steelers late on Sunday afternoon. I started to think that Yankee Stadium could have been a good replacement venue, but DC United’s president Kevin Payne made the hardest decision ever.
Both DC United and the New York Red Bulls have come to a decision to switch their hosting dates. So Saturday, November 3 will see the first leg be played at RFK Stadium. The return leg will occur on Wednesday, November 7th at Red Bull Arena when the power should be back.
This idea was originally asked by Washington Post Reporter Steven Goff and the answer from Payne was no and he has every right to say no because DC United earned their second place finish in the Eastern Conference standings. I have to say this was a brave move to make the switch, and win or lose Kevin Payne should get a handshake and a thank you for making this switch.
Make no mistake when I say this is a bitter rivalry since the league’s conception in 1996, that the DC United-MetroStars/RBNY rivalry has been a hard fought tussle for a long time. I don’t blame DC United for holding off this type of move till the last moment, but once again MLS has a tight window with their playoff scheduling and something had to be done.
Obviously NBC Sports Network who will be broadcasting the match won’t make a big problem out of it as they will have both legs in this round, but still it would be nice to have Red Bull Arena lit up and fully functional so we can take a break from the after effects of Hurricane Sandy.