ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Rochester Lancers did not give up a goal in their National Premier Soccer League playoff game Tuesday night. Yet, they are not advancing to the Midwest Region semifinals.
In fact, they were forced to forfeit the match.
The game, which had been delayed twice by lightning, was stopped in the 69th minute because there were no lights at Concordia University. The match kicked off at 6:30 p.m.
AFC Ann Arbor was awarded a forfeit victory after the Lancers could not continue the match Wednesday. The team needed to return to Rochester, N.Y. Wednesday morning because many of the players had to report to their jobs.
The NPSL, for the most part, is an amateur league.
“Playing a weekday night playoff game at a stadium with no lights is an embarrassment to the sport I love,” Lancers owners Soccer Sam Fantauzzo said in a statement. “Our players worked hard all season to get to this point and this isn’t fair to our staff, players and amazing fans. We plan to be in Detroit Friday to continue to fight for the NPSL championship.”
The Midwest Region final is set for Detroit Friday.
According to a Lancers press release, Lancers head coach Doug Miller reminded league officials that they claimed to have another facility if weather issues occurred and the game needed to be moved. Miller offered the option of deciding the match with penalty kicks or even a coin toss to determine the winner.
Fantauzzo said he had warned the league that a playoff game must be played on a field with lights.
The outdoor Lancers reached the playoffs for the first time in 42 years. They last participated in a postseason match in 1977, when they met the Cosmos and Pele in the semifinals of the North American Soccer League playoffs. The Cosmos swept the two-game series and qualified for Soccer Bowl ’77.