- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

D.C. United and the Houston Dynamo both have battled difficult starts to the season, only to recover their form in recent games. Last night severe weather added more trouble to their crowded schedules.

United’s game against the two-time defending MLS champions was postponed because of a waterlogged field after an 83-minute delay following 16 minutes of play at RFK Stadium.

An announcement will be made today on when the game will be rescheduled and played in its entirety. Tickets from last night’s game will be honored for the rematch.

“We are a team that loves possession, and you are rolling the dice on a day like today,” United coach Tom Soehn said. “Both teams need the points, and we want it to be determined by a soccer game and not the way it would be determined, when someone made the first mistake. And there would be many mistakes on a field that is saturated and can’t take any more rain.”

It was the first time a United game was called off at RFK because of weather conditions. A game against the Kansas City Wizards was stopped at halftime June 10, 2000, with the game scoreless after the floodlights malfunctioned. That game was listed as a tie and not replayed. A United game at Kansas City in 1998 was canceled because of lightning and was replayed.

Houston and D.C. United face congested schedules this year, with both teams competing in the SuperLiga and the CONCACAF Champions’ Cup.

Last night’s game started at 8:01 p.m. after a 31-minute delay.

There were large puddles on the playing surface as the rain continued to fall. Players fell constantly and risked injury on the slippery surface.

“You can’t play soccer on that because the ball doesn’t roll,” United’s Jaime Moreno said. “It would be a game determined by a mistake.”

However, there was some soccer.

Marcelo Gallardo forced Pat Onstad to make a save in the third minute on a 27-yard free kick and again five minutes later with another long-range shot. Brazilian midfielder Fred also tried his luck against Onstad, but his shot was too high.

Conditions worsened as a heavy rain fell, and at the 16-minute mark the field was deemed “unplayable” by the referee, and the game was stopped. Officials hoped the field would drain, but the weather prevailed. Three fans ran onto the field to belly surf and were chased off by security.

The trip to the District was not all a lost cause for Houston. The team will visit the White House tomorrow and be congratulated for its 2007 title.

Soehn only made one change to the lineup that tied Toronto FC 2-2 last week, with Gonzalo Peralta back in the center of the defense replacing Domenic Mediate. Houston was without star striker Brian Ching, who was scratched from the lineup because of a tight hamstring.

D.C. United next travels to play the Chicago Fire on Saturday.

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