Union eliminated from Open Cup but 5 ex-Philly players enjoy wild tourney upsets

Union eliminated from Open Cup but 5 ex-Philly players enjoy wild tourney upsets

The Philadelphia Union ran out of U.S. Open Cup magic on Wednesday night, falling to the New York Red Bulls in a shootout after scoring a late equalizer and creating all sorts of chances in extra time.

But five former Union players enjoyed a magical night of their own, leading lower-division teams Miami FC and FC Cincinnati to Open Cup upsets (or Cupsets, if you will) over MLS sides that drew national attention.

The Cincinnati win was the coolest of the night as ex-Union guys Austin Berry, Jimmy McLaughlin and Corben Bone played in front of over 30,000 people (seriously) and knocked off one of the top teams in MLS — the Chicago Fire — thanks to a ridiculous shootout performance from goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt.

Afterwards, there were some great videos people took from the crowd and on the field, including this one with McLaughlin showing off his celebration skills right in front of the camera.

Meanwhile over in Miami, it was former Union starters Michael Lahoud and Gabe Farfan helping the NASL team set up a US Open Cup quarterfinal matchup vs. USL’s FC Cincinnati thanks to a last-gasp 3-2 win over Atlanta United.

It probably shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that a couple of lower-division teams prevailed in the Round of 16, especially when you consider many of the players have MLS experience. Just look at Lahoud and Farfan, who both enjoyed some great moments in Philly.

But the fact that Miami and Cincy will play each other in the next round ensures a non-MLS team will make it to the semifinals for the first time since 2011. And to find the last time a non-MLS team won the historic tournament (open to all American clubs, professional and amateur), you have to go all the way back to 1999.

So it’s definitely a fun story, made better by the fact that Cincinnati played in front of a the second biggest crowd in Open Cup history as it seeks MLS expansion. (Miami also may get an MLS team soon but some guy named Beckham is involved in that.)

And it certainly adds an interesting chapter to what’s been a fun tournament filled with wild moments, as the Union know well. It’s too bad the Union are no longer a part of this year’s tourney but fans can still root for some old Philly guys looking for more Open Cup glory.

JJ Redick responds to video in which he allegedly used racial slur

SB Nation/Twitter

JJ Redick responds to video in which he allegedly used racial slur

Early Sunday, a video surfaced on social media that appeared to put Sixers’ guard JJ Redick in an extremely poor light. Redick has since responded to clear up the situation.

Here’s what happened:

At about 8 a.m., a post appeared on Reddit showing a screenshot and caption alleging that Redick said a racial slur during a video from NBA players wishing Chinese fans a Happy New Year. The video caused a huge uproar on social media. If you wish to see the video, it is located here, at the top.

On the surface, without a response, it looked odd from the start. Redick, who we have come to know as a well-spoken individual who is typically very appreciative of basketball fans, isn’t someone you’d expect this from, let alone with a camera pointing directly at his face with an NBA microphone in front of his lips.

He offered this response on his official Twitter account, saying he was tongue-tied and had no intentions of saying what he did on the video.

Fans have reacted on both sides of the issue, as some are still asking for an apology and others take Redick for his word. 

With the All-Star Break going on, Redick won’t be available for a few more days for the media to ask him about this. There’s a chance this story will continue into next week.

The Process is ready for primetime

The Process is ready for primetime

Basically, you saw everything you'd want to see from Ben Simmons, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid during the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday night, as they kept doing what they've basically done all February: winning. 

Ben Simmons was electric all over the court, ending with 11 points (5-5 FG, mostly dunks), six boards, a game-high 13 assists and a team-high four steals. A still-locked-in Dario Saric was the beneficiary of a handful of those dimes, ending with 18 points (7-11 FG, 4-7 3PT), three boards and five assists. 

Joel Embiid had an underwhelming stat line in his thankfully clipped playing time (just eight minutes after sitting out Wednesday's game — we'll see him more on Sunday), ending with just five points and two boards, and not exactly displaying the defensive dominance we're accustomed to from our big man. But the five points came on back-to-back possessions in the third, where JoJo nailed a top-of-the-break three and then scored on a dunk following a Fultzian spin move to the basket, showing the range of his skills in an appropriately breathtaking (and Internet-slaying) manner. 

And of course, the Sixers — I mean, Team World — won handily, outscoring Team USA in every quarter and ultimately triumphing 155-124. Even though Sacramento's Bogdan Bogdanovic took home MVP honors on the night for his white-hot shooting night (26 points on 9-16 FG, including a handful of Steph Curry-esque extended pull-up triples), I thought Simmons was the best all-around player on the floor, another thumb in the eye of the All-Star committee that snubbed him (four times!) for the proper game on Sunday night. 

Perhaps more importantly, the Sixers' presence just dominated the game altogether. Hell, they made up 3/5 of Team World's starting lineup — no other team had more than two representatives, across both squads, though the Lakers would have were Lonzo Ball available — and in the broadcast booth, the TNT guys couldn't stop talking about Embiid all night, comparing him to Hakeem and debating whether they'd ever seen a big man of his versatility before. 

And to think, this year they'll actually be represented on Saturday and Sunday, too. Hopefully Ben and Dario get a nice, relaxing All-Star break from here — they've certainly earned it — and now, it's Embiid's spotlight. The Process is ready for primetime, baby, and longtime Trusters should make sure to enjoy this moment as much as JoJo himself undoubtedly will.