Lightning delays Loons’ U.S. Open Cup game Wednesday

Minnesota United’s U.S. Open Cup game against Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night was delayed for more than three hours and eventually postponed until 1 p.m. Thursday.

Severe weather, including lightning strikes within eight miles of the stadium, paused the fourth-round game at the 19-minute mark with the score tied 1-1. U.S. Soccer waited through many 30-minute delays but eventually ran into a St. Paul city ordinance that kept them from restarting after 11 p.m. Wednesday.

Their patience was due to the national tournament game needing to be fit in now. The Open Cup’s random draw for the Round of 16 will be held at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, and both Colorado and Minnesota have MLS games scheduled this weekend.

Tickets to Wednesday’s game will be honored Thursday, the club said. The game will also resume airing on ESPN+.

Before the initial delay, the Loons scored a crisp team goal in the eighth minute. Adrien Hunou’s great through ball went to a streaking Franco Fragapane, and his cross was tapped in by Abu Danladi.

Before the trio of attackers combined for a goal, MNUFC had been shut out in two straight MLS games, a 2-0 loss to Los Angeles FC on May 1 and 1-0 loss to FC Cincinnati on Saturday.

Colorado equalized in the 15th minute. The Loons blocked an initial 25-yard free kick and then denied a second attempt, but the ball took a weird ricochet and went to Nicolas Mezquida at the far post, and he poked the ball past goalkeeper Tyler Miller.

The game was paused at 7:21 and players attempted to warmup at 7:51, but another half-hour delay kicked in at 7:56. They didn’t return to the field the rest of the night.

Allianz Field became Lake Allianz as torrential rain flooded the grass playing surface and nearly caused the cones used for warmups to float. While rain let up and the field drained, lightning strikes continued in the area until after 10:30, when the game was finally and officially postponed.

Loons manager Adrian Heath has teased a three-man back line since preseason and will roll it out Wednesday with a 3-4-3 formation: Bakaye Dibassy, Brent Kallman and Michael Boxall were the center backs in front of Miller; Oniel Fisher, Joseph Rosales, Kervin Arriaga, D.J Taylor were in midfield; and Fragapane, Danladi and Hunou were the attackers.

Minnesota advanced to the Round of 32 by beating USL League One club Forward Madison 2-0 in Wisconsin on April 20. Miller and a back four kept the Flamingos off the scoresheet in that match.

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