Relentless lightning in Philadelphia forced the league to postpone Orlando City’s rematch against the Union to Sunday at 4:30 p.m. The decision comes as a blow to the Lions, who now face the challenge of playing three matches in seven days.
Philadelphia fans remained in their seats for the entirety of the inclement weather delay, which lasted a little over an hour before the league announced the postponement. Although barely any rain fell on Talen Energy Stadium, several flashes of lightning and a forecast of impending storms throughout the area informed the decision.
“Obviously [it’s] just a bit disappointing for both teams and for the supporters,” Lions coach James O’Connor said. “We’re here and we’d like to get the game played. I think obviously we need to be mindful of the storm, the lightning, it’s obviously very serious.”
For Orlando City, a rescheduled game on Sunday is another problem during an already brutal period of scheduling. After playing the match on Sunday afternoon, the team will have only two days to travel home and recover before facing New York City FC at home on Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
The Open Cup has been a major focus for O’Connor throughout the season, and Wednesday’s match provides a challenge even without the scheduling change. O’Connor will now face the decision of how to rework his game plan and starting roster against Philadelphia in order to preserve his players for Wednesday’s match.
“We want to be serious with the Open Cup, we want to be intentional about having a strong season in that as well,” O’Connor said. “We’ve done well to get to this stage of the competition and we want to make sure that we take the next step. That’s going to be a really difficult game. New York City [is] in great form and we’ll just have to be mindful of that.”
The rescheduled game will be broadcast locally on My65 and available on Youtube TV.