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NWSL, WNBA postpone New York games over air quality concerns

Red Bull Arena, the home of Gotham FC (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

The NWSL’s Gotham FC and WNBA’s New York Liberty have postponed their scheduled games for Wednesday night due to poor air quality conditions in the New York metropolitan area stemming from Canadian wildfires.

The National Weather Service has issued an air quality alert until 12 a.m. on Friday, June 9 as smoke from wildfires blazing in eastern Canada drifts into the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. At the time of Gotham’s postponement on Wednesday, the Air Quality Index in Harrison, N.J. — the site of Red Bull Arena, Gotham’s home stadium — was over 200 and considered “very unhealthy.”

Gotham’s NWSL Challenge Cup match against the Orlando Pride has been rescheduled for Aug. 9 at 7:30 p.m. ET, the club announced.

“The safety of our players, officials and fans is our top priority,” Gotham FC said in a statement. “Following consultation with the NWSL Medical and Operations staff, it was determined that the match could not be safely conducted based on the projected air quality index.”

The Liberty followed suit Wednesday afternoon, postponing their regular season game against the Minnesota Lynx until a later date.

New York City officials have issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for all five boroughs until Thursday morning. Smoke reportedly entered Barclays Center, the Liberty’s home arena, on Wednesday and contributed to the decision to postpone.

“This decision has been made to protect the health and safety of our fans, teams and community,” the Liberty said in a statement.

According to Howard Megdal of The Next, the WNBA is looking at rescheduling the game around the Commissioner’s Cup or as part of a back-to-back when the Lynx visit the Washington Mystics on Aug. 29.