Postponing tonight's match between D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls was probably the right decision. If Hans Backe was right about one thing, it's that playing the match in the sticky snow wouldn't have really constituted a soccer match. It would have been something else. It might have been pretty darn entertaining to watch, but it wouldn't have been the best way to decide which of these two teams most deserves to advance to the next round of the 2012 MLS Playoffs. So MLS had to postpone the game. They had to, and they did.
So if the postponement was the right decision, why does it leave such a bad taste in the mouth?
Probably because the decision could have been made much sooner. Like before 700 United fans risked their lives to trek through a dangerous snowstorm. Like before fans from both teams had to stand around in the frigid cold for an hour after the match was supposed to kick off. Like before fans, stadium workers, and team staff rearranged their schedules for the second week in a row. The decision to postpone the match could have happened this morning. Or yesterday even.
We're also left with a bad taste because United gets screwed again. Not just the fans who made the trip, but the team as well. United already gave up its home field advantage to help the league cope with bad weather. Now the team has to drive home and back. It may not have been intentional, but MLS is screwing United again. How many more times will MLS manage to screw us this month? How many more times will the Red Bulls benefit?
Here's a more troubling question though: If the situation was reversed, would MLS handle it the same way? Would they be forcing Thierry Henry to travel back and forth in the snow? Or if Henry and Backe wanted to play tonight (like all of United did), would they have been allowed to do so?
The players will be back tomorrow, but many of the fans won't. It's a shame too, because they're going to miss a really memorable game in the history of D.C. United. Because if there's anyone that can take these wrongs and turn them into rights, its Ben Olsen. Tomorrow night, we'll see Olsen and his team channel all of that anger and energy onto the field.