This was not your typical rainout.
New Mexico’s recent abundance of rain did play prominently in the decision to postpone New Mexico United’s Wednesday match against Rio Grande Valley FC at Isotopes Park — just not in the way one might expect.
Heavy rains east of Albuquerque over the weekend inundated the sod farm that provides turf for United’s matches on Rio Grande Credit Union Field. As a result, the sod was left too soggy to be cut and installed on the ballpark infield.
Wednesday’s match is rescheduled for July 6 at 7 p.m. at Isotopes Park, NMU and the USL Championship announced Tuesday. United’s Saturday home match against Birmingham Legion FC remains on schedule.
The postponement was something of a letdown for United, which last appeared at Isotopes Park on May 7 and has played in Albuquerque just once since then. Still, no one including NMU president and CEO Peter Trevisani, could bring themselves to complain about the rain after Albuquerque’s 78-day span with no measurable precipitation ended Friday.
“Just like you, I’m enjoying this rain,” Trevisani said in a video posted Tuesday on social media. “It’s been great for the fires, for our ranchers, for our drought and for the entire state. Unfortunately, it’s also creating complications with our field conversion. Because of the rain that we’ve had and continue to have, we do not believe that we can safely convert our field for our match (Wednesday).”
David Carl, United’s director of communications, said the club was informed Sunday that its usual sod farm would be unable to provide turf in time for Wednesday’s scheduled match. United attempted to get sod from another source but was unable to do so under the time constraints.
“We contacted the league, Rio Grande Valley, the Isotopes and UNM (regarding parking) to see about rescheduling the match if it became necessary,” Carl said, “and fortunately everyone was able to make it work.”
The Albuquerque Isotopes had a game postponed and another called after six innings over the weekend because of rain, but general manager John Traub said the field “came out of it fine.” The grounds crew is leaving the infield tarp in place to make sure sod can be installed for Saturday’s United match if additional rain should fall this week.
“You have to install sod on top of dirt. It can’t be mud,” Traub said.
The postponement creates a scheduling oddity as United will now host Rio Grande Valley for back-to-back matches July 6 and July 9. RGVFC is the lone Western Conference foe that NMU plays three times this season. Both United and Rio Grande Valley had open dates set for July 6.
“It should save RGV some money only having to make one trip to Albuquerque instead of two,” Carl said.
It also creates a hectic stretch for United, which will play five matches in a 15-day span beginning July 2. New Mexico’s schedule is already back-loaded. The club has played just 13 matches this season, while most USLC teams have played between 14 and 18. Colorado Springs, which had two games postponed due to COVID issues, is the only other team with just 13 matches played thus far.
TICKET INFO: Tickets for Wednesday’s scheduled match remain valid for the July 6 contest, which also falls on a Wednesday. Fans unable to attend the rescheduled match can contact the club via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or through its social media accounts to exchange their tickets for a future game, Carl said.
CLIMBING THE LADDER: Riding a five-game winning streak, New Mexico (7-2-4) ascended to No. 2 in this week’s USLC Power Rankings, trailing only Colorado Springs. United was ranked 10th prior to its current surge.
(Click here for updated United Soccer League Championship division standings.)