In an alternate universe where Hurricane Sandy drifted harmlessly out to sea, D.C. United would have been playing at RFK Stadium last night in the second leg of a home-and-away playoff series with Red Bull New York. Instead, United hosted the first leg last weekend, tying 1-1, and was set to play at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., last night.
But the match was snowed out shortly after the scheduled kickoff time, even though United coach Ben Olsen and the team’s players wanted to go ahead. Eleven buses full of more than 700 United fans (paid for by Major League Soccer, since United had given up the home-field advantage it had earned by finishing ahead of Red Bull) went up for the game and had to turn around and head home through the snowstorm.
In about an hour, though, five more buses will depart from RFK Stadium for New Jersey again for the game, now scheduled for 7:30 p.m. tonight. Free tickets with United supporters are also available at the stadium, for anyone who wants to head to Harrison on their own. I’ll be going up to the match later this afternoon—you can follow me on Twitter or check back on City Desk for some coverage. (Hopefully things will go better than they did for the last D.C. team’s win-or-go-home game I attended.)
The stakes are high: Since the first game ended in a draw, whoever wins tonight will advlance to play a two-game series against Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference semifinals. (The first game will be Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m., in Houston.) And because United has the best regular-season record of any team still in the playoffs, if they beat Red Bull tonight, then get past Houston, the MLS Cup final to decide the league championship would be at RFK on Dec. 1.
But first things first: Beating Red Bull. You can watch the match live on NBC Sports Network starting at 7:30.
Video via D.C. United