MLS postpones Galaxy, LAFC games because of Hurricane Hilary

With Hurricane Hilary threatening to pound Southern California with rain and high winds this weekend, MLS is postponing Sunday night games at Dignity Health Sports Park and BMO Stadium, the league confirmed to The Times.

The Galaxy was scheduled to host Real Salt Lake at 7:30 p.m. in Carson, but RSL said Friday morning it would not be making the trip. That game will be made up on Oct. 14.

The Galaxy, eliminated in the group stage of the Leagues Cup tournament, haven’t played in three weeks. Their next game is at home Saturday with the Chicago Fire.

LAFC, meanwhile, was scheduled to play the Colorado Rapids in downtown L.A., also at 7:30, but that game was postponed as well. It will now be played Aug. 23.

The National Hurricane Center issued its first-ever tropical storm watch for Southern California on Friday morning as Hilary, rated a Category 4 hurricane, was moving north along the Baja California coast. It is projected to reach Southern California by late Sunday, about the time both MLS games were scheduled to kick off. Forecasters expect the storm to remain a hurricane as it approaches the coast of Baja California on Saturday night and into Sunday morning, but it will likely be downgraded to a tropical storm by Sunday afternoon.

Nevertheless, it is expected to bring “life-threatening” rainfall — as much as a year’s worth of rain in hours — in parts of California, Arizona and Nevada, leading to a risk of flash floods from the Baja California Peninsula into southern Nevada and the Southland over the next few days. The center of the storm is expected to reach the Los Angeles area Sunday. A tropical storm has not made landfall in the area since 1939.

A high-risk warning for excessive rainfall has been issued for much of inland Southern California — from the San Bernardino Mountains through the Coachella Valley and down into the Anza Borrego Desert — noting the high probability for flash flooding Sunday and Monday.

RSL was scheduled to leave Salt Lake City at 2 p.m. Saturday and had planned to stay in Southern California through Tuesday before traveling to Houston for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup semifinal with the Dynamo. The approaching storm forced those plans to be scrapped and RSL won’t come to Carson until the penultimate weekend of the regular season, forcing the Galaxy to play their final four games in 17 days.

Meanwhile the Rapids, who commonly fly to West Coast night matches on game day, were scheduled to leave Denver on Sunday morning. They will now play in Los Angeles on Wednesday instead.

Sunday’s postponements mark the second rainouts for both the Galaxy and LAFC. The two Southern California rivals were scheduled to open the season at the Rose Bowl on Feb. 24 but that game was pushed back to July 4 when heavy rains made the parking lots around the stadium unusable.

The approaching storm also led Pepperdine to move its women’s soccer match with Michigan from Sunday to Saturday at 3 p.m. while UCLA’s women, the reigning national champions, will meet Portland at 10:30 a.m. Sunday, 4½ hours earlier than scheduled.