The quarterfinal round of the U.S. Open Cup will be remembered as a 2-0 victory for the Philadelphia Union over the feisty New England Revolution.
It was also be recalled in another way.
The match was suspended in the 61st minute following a violent thunderstorm which included heavy rain, wind, lightning, thunder and dust at PPL Park.
After slightly more than an hour, the Union came back and closed the match the way they started it.
The result was a clean sheet and a semifinal match looming August 12 to face either the Carolina RailHawks of the revived NASL or MLS foe FC Dallas. Whichever club is the opponent, both matches will be onth road for the Union.
“It was different,” midfielder Danny Cruz said of the atmosphere. “I actually had the ball when the first dust came in. I couldn’t really believe it and it got more windy, I had dust in my teeth and then he finally blew the whistle. It was different. We got to come in here and regroup a little bit, which was good. And it ended up with a good result.”
In the 61st minute, the players were just trying to be safe and getting into the locker room in one piece.
“It looked like a tornado,” midfielder and captain Brian Carroll said. “Not until the last second when it’s coming over and your’re facing the water do you really notice it. It’s coming over the canopy and it’s black and dusty.”
How about another perspective?
“Cruz is dribbling and the next thing you know, I couldn’t see him,” midfielder Amobi Okugo said. “I was wondering when the ref was going to call up and eventually all the fans ran up. They called it, so it was good.”
The Union wound up with a huge victory and ultimately that was the most important aspect of the evening.
Conor Casey and Sebastien Le Toux each scored a goal. Le Toux’s goal was his 14th in his U.S. Open Cup career, a new record in the modern era.
“It feels great to keep winning,” Le Toux said. “We want to keep it going. There are two games left in this tournament. If we win those, we win the tournament. It’s pretty simple. We want this trophy.”
Philadelphia will have more than a month before the semifinals. There are important league matches to be played in the meantime, beginning Saturday against the Colorado Rapids.
Down the road, a U.S. Open Cup title will clearly be within reach.
“It’s huge,” Cruz said. “We’ve been trying to preach to the guys that we win two more games, we’ll get the first trophy that this club has ever had. And we take that very seriously. We’re going to have another big game coming up against Carolina or Dallas. We have to take care of business. We all want it, I can tell you that. We came in here taking this tournament very seriously. We’re almost there.
Contact Union writer Andy Jasner at firstname.lastname@example.org