It was a game played in blizzard conditions, with the United States Men’s soccer team defeating Costa Rica, 1-0, in a World Cup CONCACAF qualifying match played in Commerce City, CO. Around the 55th minute, FIFA match officials had paused the game and appeared ready to stop play, but after the referee conferred with players from both teams, the game continued. For the soccer purist, the game was lacking technique, but it was a unique spectacle to say the least.
Today the Costa Rican soccer federation formally submitted a request to FIFA that the game be replayed. Here is what USA TODAY reported:
The Costa Rican federation said the climatic conditions threatened the physical integrity of the players, left the sidelines and markings on the field largely not visible and led to the entry onto the field of snow-clearing personnel, which it said was not permitted.
The federation also argued that “ball movement became impossible given the quantity of snow on the field” and called on FIFA to punish the match officials who allowed the game to proceed.
“What happened the night of Friday the 22nd … has no precedents, since it not only went against the sporting spectacle, but also against the physical integrity of the officials and players,” the statement said.
U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said after the game that even if the snowy game were suspended, it would have been replayed from when the game was paused: “We had 19,000 people; some were on their feet the whole game. So we understand if the match would have been suspended, it would not have played from the first minute. It would have been picked up from where the game was, that’s a recent change by FIFA, so the game would have then been replayed from whatever point. We’re worried about the safety of the players and being able to see the ball, and the referee and match commissioner made the decision that the game could continue and I think it was the right decision.”
The Ticos did score a goal late in the second half that would have tied the match, but an offside call negated the tally. Currently the United States (3 points) sits in second place of the Hexagonal table with Costa Rica in last place (1 point). The U.S. faces Mexico Tuesday night at the Azteca, while Costa Rica hosts Jamaica.