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Coaches, players ‘frustrated’ by communication around NWSL weather-delay procedures

The Dash-Courage game in Houston was called final after 52 minutes of play on Friday. What happened during the three-hour-plus delay left those involved confused and asking for more transparency.

Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Some players were falling asleep. Others were drinking espresso shots as midnight approached. It was a National Women’s Soccer League matchday in a lightning storm in Houston, Texas, and confusion was in the air. 

On Friday, the Houston Dash and North Carolina Courage kicked off at 7:38 p.m CT. Play was suspended due to inclement weather around 8:49 p.m. CT and the match was eventually abandoned at roughly 12:03 a.m. CT on Saturday.

Play had been halted at the 51:39 mark and during that 3-hour-14-minute delay, confusion reigned at Shell Energy Stadium. 

“It’s astonishing that we’re in the 11th season of the NWSL now and there isn’t a policy,” Dash head coach Sam Laity told The Equalizer. “It shouldn’t come down to stadium personnel, individual referees or individual teams. We should know the policy, it should be black and white.”

According to a league spokesperson, there is a policy, but multiple parties involved in Friday’s match came away frustrated by how things played out.

As Friday turned into Saturday, the league officially awarded three points to the Courage. This decision by the league was based on a rule in section 14.19 of the NWSL Operations Manual — which does not appear in any public document — that states: “In the event that a Game cannot be completed, the Game counts if the entire first half was completed.”

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