The OL Reign’s return to action will be delayed. The Bold’s ‘Fall Series’ match against the Portland Thorns scheduled Saturday in Portland has been postponed due to health concerns from smoke from wildfires in Oregon and along the West Coast, the National Women’s Soccer League announced Thursday.
CBS planned to air the match nationally, making the cancellation the second time this season a calamity knocked OL Reign from the national spotlight. The networked scheduled the Bold’s season-opener in April as a national debut but was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s disappointing; to play a match on a big stage was exciting for all of us,” said Bill Predmore, the club’s CEO and minority owner. “This is 2020, so we should probably expect nothing else. …It’s unfortunate, but everybody understands that player safety is the most important thing.”
The match has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m. at Providence Park in Portland. It will be broadcasted on Twitch.
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality issued an advisory for the entire state as air quality — classified as “unhealthy” — is among the worst of any major city in the world, according to IQAir. Parts of Oregon, including Molalla — a city of about 9,000 south of Portland, are under a level 3 evacuation due to the wildfires.
The Thorns moved training indoors Thursday due to the conditions. OL Reign is based in Tacoma where the air quality is fine to train as normal but Predmore is concerned about that changing this weekend, in which the club would cancel the session.
“I really wish everybody got the chance to see it on Saturday,” Predmore said of the storied rivalry match. “It will still be a great game.”