July 16, 2012
WHY A 1 P.M. START
Soler: 'It's more a business decision than a sporting one'
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. -- Red Bulls general manager and sporting director Erik Soler explained the reason why the Major League Soccer team decided to stage a 1 p.m. game at Red Bull Arena in the middle of July.
The game was scheduled at 1 p.m. to give children who atten New Jersey day camps to the game between the Red Bulls and Chicago Fire as the weather forecast calls for 95-degree temperatures.
"It's more a business decision than a sporting one," he said prior to the Red Bulls' 2-2 draw with the Seattle Sounders on Sunday. "We had a very difficult time to finding different times to play one. From a sporting standpoint it is not ideal to play early in 95 or 100 degrees.
"We have to take different considerations in the mathematics and it worked out this way. It's the same for us when Chicago when they come and Seattle today. We just do our job and try to get the points, which is what I hope we can do."
Red Bulls coach Hans Backe was not happy with the decision to kickoff the match so early.
"The 1 p.m. [game], I have questioned since I saw the schedule in February," he said. "I have no idea. You have to ask the league. It shouldn't be allowed to play 90 minutes 1 p.m. you're talking about 96, 98 degrees. . . . No chance you can have players running for 90 minutes."
On Sunday, the Red Bulls and the Sounders played in 86-degree heat at RBA.
"It was brutal out there," Backe said.