New York coach slams Allianz Field’s snow removal in Loons’ opener
Snow continued to fall as the 7:40 p.m. kickoff approached the ground crew at Allianz Field used leaf blowers to clear snow from the field’s lines.
ST. PAUL -- Major League Soccer’s new Apple TV streaming service includes visiting coaches holding postgame news conferences in front of local media members.
And, boy, was the first session at Allianz Field contentious on Saturday.
New York Red Bulls coach Gerhard Struber commended his players for how they responded to the snowy pitch in a 1-1 draw with Minnesota United, but he called the amount of snow cover on the field “unprofessional.”
“I have absolutely no understanding,” Struber said. “It’s under-18, a youth team moment when I was so surprised when I got outside and I cannot see green (grass). Whatever the reason (is) for that. But this is very, very unprofessional. I have a completely different expectation of how this should play in this league, on this level.”
When it was Adrian Heath’s turn at the dais, the Loons manager added: “I was disappointed there was so much snow on the field.”
The potential problems were apparent 90 minutes before kickoff when New York staff kicked a ball and it gathered snow as if a snowman were being built.
Snow continued to fall as the 7:40 p.m. kickoff approached, and before players warmed-up, the ground crew at Allianz Field used leaf blowers to clear snow from the field’s lines. They then removed it from inside both 18-yard boxes just before kickoff.
Struber’s criticism wasn’t that the game was played but that snow removal didn’t start soon enough. A few inches remained between the boxes and along the sidelines when the game began.
“Everyone here has the responsibility to get the snow away,” Struber continued. “It wasn’t a half meter snow or a meter snow; this was only (a few centimeters). This would be possible to get the snow away.
“I think when I look to Austria, and I’m Austrian man, and we know how we handle snow. We sometimes have much more snow and we can handle that. But I have absolutely no understanding that we play (Saturday) in circumstances at an MLS professional competition. I think both teams don’t deserve that. This was not a big promotion for the league.”
The snow had stopped falling by kickoff, with the underground heating coils dissipating the white stuff covering the grass as the game progressed.
Red Bulls started the game with better scoring chances, but Minnesota scored first on a corner kick, with Bongi Hlongwane’s header in the 18th minute. New York equalized on a corner kick, with Andres Reyes’s header in the 49th minute.
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