A day after Megan Rapinoe tore up her knee in a “noncontact injury” during a training session in Honolulu, U.S. Soccer abruptly canceled today’s game (Dec. 6) against Trinidad & Tobago, citing the crappy condition of the artificial turf at Aloha Stadium.
According to NBC Sports, Alex Morgan, Hope Solo, coach Jill Ellis and others had complained vociferously about the lousy surface over the past few days.
Rapinoe’s knee injury — a torn ACL that will probably keep her out of next summer’s Olympics — “may have tipped the scales,” NBC Sports said.
After the match was canceled, Hope Solo posted this photo and message on Twitter:
Morgan, emerging ever more plainly as a leader of this team, told Fox Sports: “The training grounds that we were given and the playing surface of the stadium were horrible.”
She added: “No one’s really going to protect us but ourselves. So we’re put in a very hard position because, obviously, we want to play in front of these fans, and we want to train before the game, but injuries happen when you don’t protect yourself and when you’re not protected from those higher up from you.”
Fox described the turf in Aloha Stadium as “buckled.”
Ellis stood by her players.
“My hope is that quality of surface is at the top of the list for the quality of players that we have,” she said.
In video footage from a team training session, NBC Sports said, “Ellis could be seen angrily voicing her concerns with U.S. Soccer officials at the conditions of the field.”
And Carli Lloyd suggested that the problem wasn’t confined to Honolulu.
U.S. Soccer apologized to fans and said it would refund all ticket purchases.
The game was to have been the eighth on the U.S. team’s 10-city Victory Tour. It would have been Team USA’s first match in Hawaii.
Opened 40 years ago, Aloha Stadium is the home field of the University of Hawaii football team. It also hosts the NFL Pro Bowl (hands down the worst all-star game in any sport).
With seating for 50,000, it’s the largest outdoor venue in Hawaii.