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.
All of Mitch Hildebrandt's three shootout denies to give FC Cincinnati the win. "They are dreaming in Cincinnati tonight" pic.twitter.com/ttMsYwF1DX— Shane Kinnee (@_ShaneKinnee) June 29, 2017
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.