The night started with two quick goals in Minnesota United's U.S. Open Cup match with Colorado Rapids at Allianz Field. It ended with a game abandoned at Allianz Lake.
After a weather delay of 3 hours, 8 minutes, Wednesday's game was called at 10:29 p.m. It will be restarted at 1 p.m. today, and Minnesota United said tickets for the match will be honored. The game will be televised on ESPN Plus.
The score is tied 1-1.
Eight minutes into the match, a through ball found Franco Fragapane behind the Rapids defense. He passed back to a sliding Abu Danladi. Sandwiched between defenders, Danladi sent the ball past goalkeeper Clint Irwin to open the scoring.
The early lead didn't last long. Rapids forward Diego Rubio won a free kick just outside the Loons' box on a Joseph Rosales foul in the 15th minute. Rubio rocketed the set piece off the wall, but his rebound shot ricocheted to the feet of Nicolas Mezquida, who connected for the equalizer.
The game didn't last much longer than that. Lightning struck within eight miles of Allianz Field three minutes after Mezquida's goal, sparking an immediate suspension of the game. Players and coaches headed inside as the limited number of fans in attendance took shelter on the concourse.
Protocol allows for a resumption of a game 30 minutes after the last lightning strike, which initially seemed to be the case with no thunder in the half-hour after that first bolt. Colorado players came back out of the lockers for a 10-minute warmup that lasted only five minutes before another lightning strike sent players and fans back into shelter at 7:56 p.m.
A light rain quickly became a torrential downpour, turning the Allianz grass into a lake swamped enough to see waves blow through it.
The jumbotron in the south end of the stadium flashed a tornado warning around 8:30 p.m. that sent home most fans still clinging to hope.
St. Paul city ordinance required the game resume by 10:59 p.m. if it was to resume at all Wednesday. Combined with the requirement of a 30-minute window without lightning that also needed to be cleared, thunder at 10:29 p.m. brought the official end of the night at Allianz.
As promised at training Tuesday, Loons coach Adrian Heath made significant changes to the starting lineup, rolling out a 3-4-3 formation for the first time this season while giving several key starters rest. Wil Trapp and Emanuel Reynoso both started the game on the bench while goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair was kept out of the squad.
Midfielder Robin Lod, who missed Saturday's game against FC Cincinnati with illness, returned to the squad on the bench while striker Luis Amarilla remained out with an illness.
Goalkeeper Tyler Miller made his first start since United's last U.S. Open Cup game against Forward Madison in which he kept a clean sheet, albeit without facing a shot on goal.
Fragapane's assist marked a huge step for the forward. Coming into Wednesday, he had recorded no goals and just one assist this season, the assist coming in the season opener against Philadelphia.
"You just have to keep playing the way he knows he's done," Heath said of Fragapane after training Tuesday. "He's had a good career by being that guy who creates and gets in the box and takes chances."