Friday’s World Cup qualifier between Costa Rica and Honduras – a match that holds significant implications for the United States – has been suspended and rescheduled for Saturday due to tropical storm Nate.
The storm – expected to hit the U.S. on Sunday, at which point it could be considered a hurricane – has killed at least nine people, and left more missing. It forced Costa Rica to declare a national state of emergency Thursday afternoon as the Central American nation copes with mudslides and overflowing rivers.
The qualifier, which was scheduled for 8 p.m. local time (10 ET) in San Jose on Friday, will now be played at 4 p.m. local time (6 ET) on Saturday at the national stadium.
According to reports, emergency officials who were expected to staff the game have been called on to help with rescue efforts, meaning the game would have been without requisite security.
The Honduran national team also reportedly dealt with delays on its way to Costa Rica. Its original flight was originally diverted to El Salvador. After further delays, it finally arrived Thursday evening, several hours after expected.
According to reports, both federations were in discussions with FIFA Thursday afternoon. The decision to suspend the game – but to play it within 24 hours of the original schedule time, rather than postpone it to a later date – was made Thursday evening.
The rescheduling will leave roughly 72 hours in between the conclusion of Saturday’s game and Honduras’ final-round match at home against Mexico on Tuesday.
Costa Rica needs just one point from the match to officially qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Honduras is currently tied for fourth place with the U.S. Only the top three teams in the group qualify automatically, with the fourth-place finisher able to do so through a playoff against either Australia or Syria.
The U.S. plays Panama – in third place, one point ahead of both the U.S. and Honduras – Friday at 7:30 ET. Mexico also plays Friday night. All six teams play on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET – the U.S. at Trinidad and Tobago, Honduras home vs. Mexico, and Panama home vs. Costa Rica.
With the rescheduling of Costa Rica-Honduras, scenarios for CONCACAF’s final matchday won’t be nailed down until 20 hours after they would have been had the game been played as originally planned.
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Henry Bushnell covers soccer – the U.S. national teams, the Premier League, and much, much more – for FC Yahoo and Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.