Last week, the San Diego Flash received a free pass into the second round of the 2014 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup after SC Corninthians USA forfeited due to player registration issues. Now, the Flash have confirmed they will be forfeiting their Round 2 match against USASA’s PSA Elite due to stadium availability.
On Monday, May 12, two days before their scheduled match against PSA Elite at Mira Mesa High School in San Diego, the Flash posted the following to their Facebook page:
“It is with sad hearts that we need to report to you that our US Open Cup Match on Wednesday CANNOT take place at our Home Field in Mira Mesa.
In all fairness to them, the Group who has the field reserved ahead of The Flash did allow us to have the field last week. They just are not on board to work with us this week.
We will still play on Wednesday. We will get back to you with updates as we figure out where the match can be played.”
In the last 48 hours, the team was unable to find a field to play on short notice. Flash CEO Clenton Alexander made this statement:
“It is with much regret that I have to announce that San Diego Flash will have to forfeit our US Open Cup match on Wednesday, May 14, 2014. The reason is because we could not find a field to play the game. Our home field in Mira Mesa has been reserved by another group on Wednesdays for weeks and the group was unwilling to allow us to use the field.
We searched all around San Diego for other venues for the past week, but there weren’t any available. For those who don’t know, typically rentals of facilities must be done at least 4 weeks in advance.
The moment I knew we were not going to have access to our field, I called the offices of US Soccer to find out our options. A call was made to the opposing team to give them the option of hosting, but they could not. I specifically asked “What is our worst case scenario?”. I was told that the game could be moved to the Stub Hub Center in Los Angeles and that we would merely have to cover our own travel costs.
Yesterday, we were informed that playing in Los Angeles was no longer an option and that a forfeit would be issued. This situation hurts a lot considering what everyone in our organization has put into building a winning team for San Diego over the past 5 years. I especially feel bad for our players and our true fans. We are still undefeated in 2014 and look forward to finishing our season strong.”
This marks the first time in at least 20 years that the US Open Cup has seen multiple forfeits in a single tournament. Prior to this year, the last Open Cup forfeit occurred in 2003 when the Bridgeport Italians (Conn.) fielded an ineligible player against the Chesapeake Dragons (PDL) in the opening round.
When asked if the late release of the 2014 US Open Cup schedule contributed to his team’s venue problems, and possibly even last round’s SC Corinthians USA forfeit. Alexander replied, “I don’t think it’s a good time to play the blame game. We’re obviously very disappointed in how this played out.”
While happy to advance to Round 3, PSA Elite were sympathetic to the Flash’s challenges.
“This is a very difficult situation for the Flash,” said PSA Elite general manager Gary Berry. “They have worked hard to get back into the US Open Cup, and to have this happen is very unfortunate. For PSA Elite, we would really like to have played them today. We had a chance to play them a few years ago and both teams have come along way since then. PSA Elite now has two weeks to prepare for the next round. We need to focus on that.”