A league decision will force the NC Courage to assemble its players and staff in the center of Hurricane Florence and fly cross-country for a playoff semifinal, while forfeiting the home-field advantage the Courage earned by way of a wide margin, and team officials aren’t happy about any of it.
The NWSL announced Thursday that the semifinal the Courage was scheduled to host on Sunday contrary to the Chicago Red Stars will undoubtedly be moved to Portland, Ore., tuesday as a result of storm on. Next Saturday the championship game will undoubtedly be played in Portland.
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“Clearly, we’re disappointed that the elements has denied our players and fans the celebration of a sold-out home playoff game,” Friday courage owner Stephen Malik said. “Our preference could have been here to play the overall game. All along, important was had by us to be worried about safety and, needless to say, our thoughts venture out to anyone suffering from the storm.
“Regarding the process, your choice was made late clearly. The league’s choice to create us cope with travel and plan a potential weeklong trip under these situations, that’s a large challenge. A colossal challenge.”
Earlier, team president Curt Johnson took to Twitter to criticize the NWSL.
“This decision puts great pressure on our staff/players/coaches etc to get ready for trip in midst of storm,” Johnson tweeted. “No decision is preferable to bad one. Safety remains our priority for several involved. I’m baffled & disappointed for the Courage family.”
With the storm approaching the Triangle, the team had told its players and employees to remain home Friday and Saturday in the expectation the overall game will be postponed and played in Cary following the storm passed and the Red Stars could safely happen to be NEW YORK. Instead, the Courage has only three days to get ready and travel for a playoff game in the center of an enormous hurricane.
of Friday afternoon
As, the united team had yet to determine how it could reach Portland given the storm’ s uncertain impact and path on the Triangle on the next couple of days.
“It’s sort of a hardcore thing for all of us to be coping with this, our employees to be now coping with this right, right because the storm is certainly going through us,” Malik said. “We’re focusing on that. Frankly, whatever we book, we’ve got challenging with certainty.”
The Courage romped through the NWSL regular season with a 17-1-6 record and 57 points, an enormous 15 prior to the second-place Portland Thorns. With the championship game scheduled for Portland on Sept previously. 22, the Courage now faces the chance of playing both a semifinal and the championship on the Thorns’ home field – the latter contrary to the Thorns potentially, who have three extra days of rest also.
“It’s unfortunate that people have this type of big challenge before us,” Malik said. “The plain thing that keeps me positive, if any united team can rise compared to that challenge, it’s the Courage. They’ve had the opportunity to accomplish it and again and again over. It’s another chance of them to prove how fabulous they’re just.”
Sports columnist Luke DeCock: 919-829-8947, [email protected], @LukeDeCock