CHESTER, Pa. -- One of these days, a U.S. Open Cup game that the Philadelphia Union play in will pass by uneventfully.
Wednesday was not of those days.
Two weeks after the Union continued their three-year trend of winning Open Cup games in dramatic or bizarre fashion, their Round of 16 matchup with the New York Red Bulls ended with some more fireworks.
This time, though, there wasn’t a shootout, a stoppage-time or extra-time winner, or a weather delay. This time, coaches from both teams were ejected in the waning minutes of Philly’s 2-1 victory.
The first came late in the second half when Union assistant Mike Sorber was tossed for time wasting for kicking a ball back onto the field of play (perhaps accidentally, according to head coach Jim Curtin) -- and then high-fiving Sons of Bens members on his way to the tunnel.
But that only set the stage for Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch getting ejected for arguing a particularly bad foul call on New York striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, before picking up two balls on his way out and throwing them both in frustration.
Marsch is ejected but on the way out he grabs a few balls and throws them in anger. pic.twitter.com/x9ilOEAl7F— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) June 30, 2016
Sadly, the video is not great (stupid ref getting in the way) but there truly is an epic picture of Union head coach Jim Curtin giving Marsch the touchdown signal during one of his tosses.
Visual proof that Jim Curtin gave Jesse Marsch the touchdown signal for his postgame toss, courtesy of USA Today. pic.twitter.com/ZwTMeMVyyP— Dave Zeitlin (@DaveZeitlin) June 30, 2016
Curtin actually told reporters after his postgame press conference that’s what he did. And the Union coach also teased Marsch a little during the presser, saying of his good friend and former Chicago Fire teammate: “I’ve seen that face before in training sessions. When you’re on the other side, it still does make me smile.”
Marsch wasn’t smiling too much after the game, saying only that he “had to try to induce change with the referee somehow because he was basically calling every foul for the Union.” But the Red Bulls coach was also disappointed by his own team’s second-half performance as the Union overcame a 1-0 halftime deficit to advance to the quarterfinals, thanks to this sensational game-winning play by Tranquillo Barnetta, Ilsinho and Chris Pontius.
Wednesday’s game also gave us an all-timer of a quote from Jim Curtin, who said Philly’s far improved second-half performance had nothing to do with him, philosophizing: “Players win games, coaches lose them and referees ruin them.”
Here’s one more truth: the U.S. Open Cup never gets old.