Heavy, torrential rain is expected all through Thursday in Recife, Brazil, which will translate into sloppy field conditions for the United States as it battles Germany for a ticket to the Round of 16 in the 2014 World Cup.
At around noon kickoff time at Arena Pernambuco, the temperature is expected to hover at about 79 degrees Fahrenheit, which means the rain will actually break the sweltering heat and high humidity in the tropical city.
Nearly 3 inches of rain have fallen in Recife, Brazil’s fifth-largest city, and reports said FIFA officials tested the field to see if the game could be played or if a postponement was warranted. The Washington Post reports that better drainage in the new stadium should make the pitch just fine.
The storm has caused massive flooding in Recife, according to the Post, along with major traffic jams.. The stadium is in the suburbs of Recife, much further from the coast where the storm has hit the hardest. Fans may show up late due to the traffic, since it takes about 25-30 minutes without traffic.
But the match will go on, the UK Daily Telegraph reports.
â€” Henry Winter (@henrywinter) June 26, 2014
The field could be a sloppy, muddy mess, but this U.S. team has played before in difficult weather conditions.
In March 2013, the U.S. beat Costa Rica 1-0 amid a blistering snowstorm in Denver. Clint Dempsey would score the winner in the 16th minute, as ground crews plowed snow off the lines. Still, Costa Rica players complained they couldn’t see the lines on the field.
Unlike some players who compete in other countries, American players are accustomed to all sorts of weather given America's vast region. A Major League Soccer season runs from March to October in cities like Toronto, New York, Seattle, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles, providing for a rather erratic weather and travel schedule.
The wetter conditions might favor the more tested and skilled German side, including gifted midfielders like Mesut Özil and Bastian Schweinsteiger who know just how much touch to put on a ball fighting against water.
"The field will be very fast," U.S team and head coach Jürgen Klinsmann said. "It will be hard to have a clean, technical game."
Klinsmann said the field conditions won't benefit either squad. "We will make the best out of it," he added.
This match could be an opportunity for Michael Bradley to shine. The most senior midfielder on the U.S. squad with 88 appearances and 12 goals, Bradley could employ his speed, elusiveness and touch in the rain. The 26-year-old is also due for a big game after two rather uninspired and lackadasical efforts against Ghana and Portugal.
â€” Curtis Carden (@CurtisCarden_ER) June 26, 2014