Last night’s US Open Cup game between D.C. United and Christos FC was a unique spectacle to say the least. A team of guys with regular day jobs had fought their way through three rounds - and in away games every time - to earn their place on the Maryland Soccerplex field against United, the most decorated team American soccer has ever produced. That’s extremely cool.
And so, after 90 hard-fought minutes in which Christos had taken the lead and were still clinging to a 1-1 tie after 81 minutes despite being forced into multiple subs due to injuries and cramping, the teams walked off the field to the expected result. United padded their lead after the 90th minute to make the final 4-1, but the real story of the night was the green-clad side from the Baltimore suburbs.
Christos acknowledged the busloads of fans (including a bunch of youth players that are coached by Christos players) that came down to support them...
...and then continued to slowly take a lap around the field. First they applauded a second, rowdy pocket of Christos partisans near midfield, and then they wandered in front of United’s supporters, who broke into strong applause before chanting for the beaten side.
That wasn’t all. Levi Houapeu - once a Philadelphia Union draft pick who played for the Rochester Rhinos and the Baltimore Blast - was a particularly big threat for Christos throughout the game. He missed the initial lap, but United fans made sure to pay their respects to the talented winger:
#DCU fans chanting for Houapeu, who is thanking literally everyone: "Sign him up Benny, sign him up!"— Black and Red United (@blackandredU) June 14, 2017
Normally we’re a hyper-focused United/Spirit/USA site, but sometimes the big story is on the other side. Tonight was an exceedingly rare night, and one people will think back to far more often than if this had been, say, United vs. (insert regional USL team), or even United vs. (insert MLS team). It’s the kind of night where this happened:
Had my #CupMagic moment on the way to my car, as a Christos player (already driving home!) pauses to let me cross the street— Jason Anderson (@chestrockwell14) June 14, 2017
Like I said earlier, these guys have real jobs, and that means hustling home after a game so you can get up for work tomorrow. I’ve done it with my indoor team, and plenty of you have too. For Christos, it’s the same vibe, but this one night - again, a night they earned with three straight road shutouts - came with something extra. It really is like something out of a movie.